Sports Agent Laws and UNC Benefits Case

For those who remember the UNC-Chapel Hill extra benefits case from earlier in the decade, there is some additional news that relates not to NCAA rules but, rather, the state of North Carolina’s sports agents laws. Specifically, the former sports agent involved in providing thousands of dollars in extra benefits to the former student-athletes in the case recently pled guilty to providing impermissible benefits to those student-athletes and coaxing them into signing contracts with him. The former sports agent accepted 30 months of probation along with a $5,000 fine as part of a plea agreement that also included suspended jail sentence of six to eight months as issued by a judge. He also pled guilty to 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement, including providing around $24,000 in cash and travel accommodations to three former student-athletes in 2010. The felonies, which are considered minor for those without a criminal record, came in violation of North Carolina’s sports agent law. (credit to Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports)

For those in the college athletics business at the time, the UNC-Chapel Hill extra benefits case was one of the most impactful in recent memory due to the COI’s statement on monitoring of social media. Specifically, a failure to monitor charge was brought against UNC, as “the enforcement staff alleged that the institution did not “consistently” monitor the social networking activity of its student-athletes. The social networking site of one of the student-athletes contained information that, if observed, would have alerted the institution to some of the violations set forth above in Finding B-4.” (see UNC-Chapel Hill Public Infractions Report, pg. 11)

Additionally, this case seemed to be the most high profile scenario in which a state’s sports agent law would be used to prosecute an involved party. In fact, it was an opportunity to review the Uniform Athlete Agent Act, which a number of states ascribe to.