RELEASE: De León Bill Protecting Student Athletes from Unscrupulous Sports Agents Signed by the Governor

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

De León Bill Protecting Student Athletes from Unscrupulous Sports Agents Signed by the Governor

(Sacramento, CA) - California’s collegiate student athletes scored big when Senate Bill (SB) 238 was signed by the Governor earlier this week. The bill creates penalties for athlete agents who victimize student athletes and comes at a time when there have been numerous ethics and legal violations in NCAA athletics both in California and nationally.

“The dirty secret behind student athletes is that they toil for long hours pursuing their dreams but are often living in poverty. They are very vulnerable to unscrupulous agents preying on them in the hopes of a future reward,” said the bill’s author Senator Kevin de León, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Sports and Entertainment. “I am thrilled California is now one step closer to preventing student athlete victimization with the passage of this legislation.”

California is home to more sports agents than all of the other 49 states combined. While most of the players in the industry act lawfully, there are athlete agents who brazenly flout the law for their own financial gain. They frequently employ tactics that involve secret payments, providing student athletes with unrealistic promises, and force student athletes into entering contracts that are not in their best interest. Further, they hurt the NCAA eligibility of our student athletes, having a damaging effect on our colleges and universities’ ability to participate in intercollegiate sports, which impacts tourism and revenue in their communities.

“USC is pleased with the signing of Senator De León’s SB 238 into law,” said David M. Roberts, University of Southern California’s Vice President of Compliance. “We participated in the public hearings on the legislation and advocated for stronger penalties for violations of California’s current agent-related Miller Ayala Act involving student-athletes.  The suspension/revocation of privileges and the disgorgement of consideration penalty provisions should provide additional teeth to the current law and help ensure compliance with the Act by sports agents in California.”

SB 238 protects student athletes by requiring the courts to suspend or revoke the business privileges of an athlete agent convicted of violating the Miller-Ayala Athlete Agents Act. Additionally, athlete agents are required to disgorge all gross revenues received in connection with the violation. This bill not only applies to athlete agents, but also “runners” who are often friends, family members, marketers, and real estate/financial advisors.

The California State Senate and Assembly passed SB 238 on votes of 37-0 and 76-0, respectively. The legislation goes into effect January 1, 2012.