President signs bill tightening rules for agents
Posted: Friday September 24, 2004 10:29PM; Updated: Friday September 24, 2004 10:29PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President George W. Bush signed a law Friday establishing tougher penalties for unethical sports agents.
The bill stiffens penalties for agents who lure student-athletes into contracts that compromise their amateur standing and damage the reputations of their schools.
The legislation, which passed by voice vote in the Senate earlier this month, was promoted by House of Representatives Republican Tom Osborne, a former Nebraska football coach. Osborne said he has seen sports agents illegally use cash and gifts to recruit student-athletes.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the main governing body for college sports in the United States, has rules, and some states have standards, for sports agents, but House Democrat Bart Gordon from Tennessee, principal author of the bill, said they haven't stopped unscrupulous agents from "aggressively pursuing these kids anyway, possibly ruining a chance to compete on the college level and get a degree."
The law bars agents from recruiting student-athletes by giving false or misleading information or providing anything of value to the athlete or his family before entering into a contract.
The agent also must disclose in writing that the athlete may lose NCAA eligibility after signing an agency contract. And the law requires the athlete and the agent to notify the school's athletic director that the athlete has signed a contract so the school does not allow a now-ineligible athlete to play.
Violators would face civil actions by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. Fines of up to $11,000 a day could be levied for each offense.