The elimination of the National Football League Player Association’s regulatory authority over agents following the union’s decertification has prompted several states and universities to take a closer look at their laws and rules to ensure maximum protection for their student-athletes.
At the university level, in communications to all agents who served as Certified Contract Advisors prior to the NFLPA’s decertification, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia have made clear their intention to strictly enforce all university policies and state laws restricting agent access to their student-athletes.
James Leonard, the University of Oklahoma’s Executive Director of Compliance, cautioned agents that Oklahoma state law and university policy restrict agent contact with football “underclassmen” who are not eligible to enter into a professional sports contract. He added that any conduct contrary to the law or the university policy may lead to both criminal and civil penalty. In addition, he cautioned agents that “contact” is interpreted broadly and includes Facebook friending.
The University of Georgia amended its current policy regarding student-athlete dealing with prospective agents, financial advisors, or their recruiters. It announced a formal prohibition against sports agents, financial advisors, and anyone else recruiting student-athletes for any reason, from having any form of contact, verbal or in-person, with any Georgia underclass football player, their family or friends. In addition, anyone, other than sports agents, is prohibited from contacting a University of Georgia student-athlete until their athletic eligibility has expired.
In addition, the school released a detailed schedule of permitted contact dates throughout the year for senior and “redshirt” senior athletes. The schedule limits access and provides specific times and potential methods of communication for those interested in representing Bulldog players.