Arkansas to protect student-athletes

March 9, 2011

Arkansas sports agents will face harsher punishment for improper contact with student-athletes

The Arkansas government is in the process of enacting legislation that will make it a Class D felony for sports agents to entice student-athletes with money or other financial incentives. The Athlete Reform Act of 2011 (HR 1061) breezed through the House by a 89-0 margin. The Senate gave final approval and HR 1061 is expected to be signed by Governor Mike Beebe.

The Act is designed to punish sports agents who flash cash in front of vulnerable student-athletes to entice them to sign contracts. Generally, the athlete (i.e., Reggie Bush) will face serious punishment for accepting any financial incentives, but the agent only gets a slap on the wrist. Now with the passage of HR 1061, an agent who provides money or any gift to a student-athlete will face criminal charges punishable by up to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Additionally, the attorney general can assist a civil fine anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000.

For the purity of the game and in an unregulated sports agent business, let’s all hope other states follow in the footsteps of Arkansas.

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