How can I avoid legal problems if I want to represent a college football player? 2 Answers as of August 13, 2011I have a question about agent representation. A college football player approached me asking if I would represent him with his tryouts and his desire to pursue a AFL (Arena Football League) career. I'm wondering if there are certain requirements or guidelines we need to follow to avoid legal problems?
Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, PLLC | Thomas Mansfield Dunlap
The are two major ways for sports agents to get themselves in trouble: 1. Not understanding the business of sports and athlete management, and 2. Trying to do deals without a legal team or advice from a lawyer. Understanding the business of sports involves working with either a great mentor or getting a decent education from a college or university with a sports management curriculum. While there is no legal requirement for either of these things to act as an agent for an athlete, it is risky and difficult business otherwise. On item two, agents are frequently faced with contract terms and legal agreements that move from a handshake deal to a piece of paper (a written contract). Letting an athlete sign anything or finalizing any but the most general terms without a lawyers advice and review is dangerous and in fact in most states, if you give your client advice on the legal implications of the contract, may be a misdemeanor in the form of the unauthorized practice of law. Also note there are some sports agent laws that regulate how sports agents can do business, most of which revolve around ethics (notably California). Finally on the legal side any dealings there are a lot of parties in the mix; with leagues or collegiate athletics there are sophisticated parties, in the form of the team, unions and other agents, as well as complex "extra" rules such as players union rules and NCAA rules. In sum, there are two things to do: get educated and find a great legal partner (often they can help with the business aspects as well).
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia