Reacting to improper agent interactions with undergraduate student-athletes, the University of Washington and The University of North Carolina have enacted and formally introduced amended agent regulations. Both schools are adding new rules that restrict agent interaction with student-athletes.  The University of Washington’s policy also contains restrictions on financial advisors and their associates.

The University of North Carolina’s enactment follows the school’s recent alleged NCAA rules violations regarding gifts and benefits received by its athletes from sports agents. The new policy with regard to agent access to football players states:

          -Student-athletes are permitted to one, one-hour in person meeting on campus with prospective agents during one week in the summer (July 16-20).

          -Student-athletes cannot call agents at all during the month of August and are limited to calls from 7 pm -10 pm in September

          -No emails, texting or other forms of social media communication is permitted in August. In September, the student-athlete may only use these communication methods from Sunday-Wednesday.

The University of North Carolina policy covers NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors only and does not restrict student-athlete contact with financial advisors, marketing representatives, or business managers.

The University of Washington’s new agent policy requires agents as well as financial advisors and their associates to refrain from personal contact with student-athletes and their family and friends until the athletes have exhausted their college eligibility. In addition, the policy requires that any information forwarded from the agent to a student-athlete be mailed to the school’s Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance.

While the University of Washington’s policy places barriers between its student-athletes, agents and financial advisors, it also permits limited access to senior athletes in certain sports, such as football, through a regulated “Agent Calendar.” The Calendar takes effect following the completion of a student-athlete’s third season of competition. The football agent Calendar provides:

          -January-March- No agent contact permitted

          -April-June-Only in-person contact permitted at either the player’s home or on-campus is permitted. A parent/guardian must be present at the meeting 

          -July-Only on-campus agent interviews are allowed by player invitation only

          -August-December-No in-person contact is permitted. Agents are allowed one call per week, on Sunday or Monday and text messages may be sent on Sundays and Mondays only

In the weeks ahead more universities may follow this decision to restrict agent access and potential interactions with student-athletes. We will provide updates as other schools move in this direction.

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Photo of Gregg E. Clifton Gregg E. Clifton

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in…

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. He serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters and has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings. In addition, he has handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions. Mr. Clifton has also worked extensively in the area of agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents’ work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, he spent six years as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Team Sports for Gaylord Sports Management. He also served as President of the Athlete and Entertainment Division for famed sports attorney Bob Woolf’s firm, Woolf Associates, in Boston.

Mr. Clifton began his career as an Associate at Jackson Lewis where he focused his practice on traditional labor law. He continues to counsel clients in the areas of collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters.

Mr. Clifton frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools, including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University and Arizona State University, and bar associations regarding sports law issues, including agent regulation and salary arbitration. He is also often cited as an expert source in national news media for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports.