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NEW THOUGHTS ON THE AGENT ISSUE

I was excited to get coverage on the sports agent issue from the Freedom’s Phoenix web site on its first page today!  I would like to thank Freedom’s Phoenix and Ernest Hancock for the great coverage on libertarian/Ron Paul news and for finding my material suitable for his purposes.  It’s an honor to have articles prominently featured at Freedom’s Phoenix.

The sports agent issue is a symptom of a larger problem:  The over-regulation of America.  Instead of addressing the questions that big-time college sports raises and seeking a free market solution, we pile on rules on top of rules and rules to enforce the first set of rules.  What we need is to look for is analogies and fortunately we have one:  Recruiting of high school athletes.

When a college coach wants to talk to a high school star, the rule is to first speak with that star’s coach.  It is crucial to the system to have openness and the coach ought to know what is going on.  (It is true that most HS players are minors too but that does not prevent this being used by analogy for college.)  The value here is transparency and integrity.

Agents ought to have to first talk to the coach.  That gives the coach a heads-up on what is going on.  It is true, 99% of all college players are not going to play a professional sport.  However, major college sports is a business.  The one percent is the issue here.  So, we need a series of rules:  Agents talk to the coach and register their intention to speak with the player.  Agent contracts ought not invalidate amateur status when the contract is for the future after school and there is no compensation from the agent to induce the contract.  All the activities and contracts are available for appropriate review by the media.  Players are paid or given jobs by the university or boosters as long as it is a real job (and I am not even sure about that requirement as long as the money is not funneled from the school through the booster for the fake job) and there is disclosure.

All the major actors in the drama of big-time college sports would know the score.  The coach knows what players are being pursued by agents or signed with agents.  The agent can act openly.  (I am concerned that the authority of the coach could be undermined by pesky agents asking for special favors for their clients.  But I think the coach has inherent authority to take care of this situation on the field.)

This is too simple an idea for anybody to adopt it.  “It would violate amateur sports, Sandy!”  I do support amateur sports:  That’s why pros should not be in the Olympics.  But we do not have real amateur sports in major college football or basketball (and to some extent baseball); we have unpaid minor leagues instead.  So, let’s look at it from a free market focus and usually the right answer will arise.

NCAA, the ball’s in your court.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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