FAQs

Can I talk to an agent while I am a prospective or enrolled student-athlete?

A prospective or current student-athlete may talk to an agent; however, a student-athlete shall be ineligible in an intercollegiate sport if he or she agrees, orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport, or if an agent provides benefits to the prospective student-athlete or current student-athlete. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport.

Can I accept any benefits from an agent or any other individual based on my athletic ability?

No. You, your relatives and friends may not accept benefits from an agent, financial advisor, runner or any other person associated with an agency business. These benefits include, but are not limited to: transportation, money and gifts, regardless of the value of the benefit or whether it is used.

Can my family and/or friends accept any benefits from an agent or any other individual based on my athletic ability?

No. You, your relatives and friends may not accept benefits from an agent, financial advisor, runner or any other person associated with an agency business. These benefits include, but are not limited to: transportation, money and gifts, regardless of the value of the benefit or whether it is used.

Am I allowed to make an oral or written agreement with an agent or any individual based on my athletic ability and still maintain my amateur status?

No. You may not agree, orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent until after your eligibility has ended, including your team’s postseason competition. A student-athlete will lose amateur status if he or she makes an oral or written agreement to be represented by an agent or any individual based on his or her athletic ability.

Is it okay for me to make an agreement with an agent that will not transpire until after I have completed my collegiate athletics career?

No. You may not agree, orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent in the future. A student-athlete shall be ineligible if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent or other individual for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the student-athlete has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.

If I am interested in hiring an agent, what process do I need to go through?

The Professional Sports Counseling Panel is a valuable resource for providing guidance in screening and selecting agents, and for negotiating contract terms with a professional organization.

When making an agreement with an agent, you should have a clear understanding of the actual terms and conditions of the agreement. The agreement needs to be clearly expressed in writing, either in written contract form or by retainer letter. Some of the provisions that should be included in an agent’s agreement to provide services include:

  • the duration of the agreement and the renewal provisions;
  • how disputes are going to be resolved should they arise;
  • whether the agent has an exclusive right to handle all contracts or just the playing contract;
  • how the agent is to be paid (on a contingent fee or hourly basis);
  • whether the agent is to receive a percentage of bonuses, playoff money or awards;
  • who is responsible for the agent’s expenses; and
  • what procedures must be followed if the athlete wishes to terminate the relationship with the agent.

Understand that this is not an exhaustive list and you can contact the Professional Sports Counseling Panel for more information and guidance.

What is a Runner?

 Runners are used by agents to be the “inside track” to signing the student-athlete to a representation contract. Runners are usually individuals who start out trying to “just be your friend.” The runner can be anyone, male or female, current or former student, and even an old high school friend. Runners may eventually offer rides, meals, clothing, and seem like a good person. You can be certain that every dime the runner has spent in “recruiting” the student-athlete on behalf of the agent has been well documented, and the student-athlete will likely be required to repay that cost once signed by the agent. 

What criteria should I consider when selecting an agent?

  • Determine what services you will need from an agent and the reasonable cost for each service;
  • Consider an agent’s educational background, training and work experience. Verify the credentials of any agent;
  • Determine the agent’s reputation. Check with the players associations, other players, clients and former clients;
  • Look for an agent who will devote time to your interests;
  • Involve your family in the decision-making process, and make sure you feel comfortable and can trust the agent; and
  • Determine if the agent is informed. An agent must be familiar with the constitution and bylaws of the particular professional league they are dealing with, as well as the standard players’ contract.

Can my coach or anybody else market my athletic ability to a professional sports organization?

A coach or other individual may not, directly or indirectly, market a prospective or enrolled student-athlete’s athletic ability or reputation to a professional sports team or organization.

Can I request that a professional athletic organization send me information concerning my professional market value?

Yes.  A student-athlete may request information about professional market value without affecting his or her amateur status.

What is a financial advisor and what can he/she do for me?

A financial advisor is an expert in the field of finance, taxes, investments and law and can provide guidance in these areas.

Should I hire a financial advisor if I decide to pursue a professional sports career?

It is your decision whether or not you hire a financial advisor; however, be cautious when doing so. If you decide to hire a financial advisor or sports agent, consider the following:

  • All agreements between you and the advisor/agent should be in writing, but before signing an agreement, have an independent attorney review it to make sure it says what it is supposed to say;
  • Make sure the advisor/agent documents and explains his/her financial management and investment philosophies and strategies;
  • Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to an annual independent audit of your financial dealings;
  • Require the advisor/agent to provide regular and written status reports on your finances;
  • Require the advisor/agent to provide proof of coverage for fidelity insurance or bonding to protect you in the event of theft by the advisor/agent;
  • Do not grant the advisor/agent power of attorney to act on your behalf;
  • Make it a contractual obligation of the advisor/attorney to promptly inform you in writing of any potential or actual conflicts of interest as your representative;
  • Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to provide you full access to any financial records in his/her custody; and
  • Make sure that the advisor/agent is available at all times and is committed to your best interest.

What should I consider when reviewing a contract?

You need to consider the following factors when negotiating provisions of a player contract:

  • length of playing contract;
  • base salary;
  • timing of payments;
  • signing bonuses;
  • reporting bonuses;
  • performance and other bonuses;
  • incentives;
  • salary guarantees;
  • trade provisions;
  • additional injury provisions;
  • options;
  • special benefits; and
  • personal-conduct provisions.

Do I have to have an agent to sign a contract?

No. There are several professional athletes who have chosen not to hire an agent; rather, these professional athletes have hired attorneys who are paid at an hourly rate.

What percentage of my contract does my agent get if I sign with a professional team?

The maximum fee is 3% a year. Agent fees are negotiable. The majority range between 2% and 3% a season. Fees get paid to agents only as you earn your salary. Major expenses only can be made with your explicit consent. You must receive a yearly statement from your agent detailing all services and all charges.

Can I seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract?

A student-athlete can seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract if that attorney or third party does not represent the student-athlete in negotiations for that contract.

It is not permissible for an attorney or third party to be present during discussions of a contract with a professional team, and the attorney or third party may not have contact with a professional sports organization on your behalf. It is considered representation if an attorney or third party are present during such discussions.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection against the loss of future earnings as a professional athlete due to a disabling injury.

There are two types of disability insurance:

  • permanent total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term; and he or she will not be able to participate ever again (unless the policy specifies a shorter period of time) in his or her sport; and
  • temporary total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term and he or she is not able to participate in his or her sport at the time of the designated medical evaluation.

Can I obtain disability insurance while in college?

Individuals who qualify for disability insurance are those who realistically anticipate receiving a substantial amount of money as professional athletes due to their present market value as future professionals.

Who do I talk to about disability insurance?

You should contact the Professional Sports Counseling Panel, athletics director or the NCAA for information on disability insurance. There are only a few companies that provide this type of insurance for athletes; however, there are numerous insurance brokers/agents who can sell the disability coverage. The NCAA also sponsors a disability insurance program for elite student-athletes in specific sports.

As a prospective or enrolled student-athlete, can I try out for a professional team without jeopardizing my eligibility?

A prospective student-athlete remains eligible in a sport even though, prior to enrollment in a collegiate institution, the student-athlete may have tried out with a professional athletics team in a sport or received not more than one expense paid visit from each professional team, provided such a visit did not exceed 48 hours and any payment or compensation with the visit was not in excess of actual and necessary expenses. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time.

An enrolled student-athlete shall not try out with a professional athletics team in a sport or permit a professional athletics team to conduct medical examinations during any part of the academic year while enrolled in a collegiate institution as a regular student in at least a minimum full-time academic load, unless the student-athlete has exhausted eligibility in that sport. The student-athlete may try out with a professional organization in a sport during the summer or during the academic year while not a full-time student, provided the student-athlete does not receive any form of expenses or other compensation from the professional organization.

What is the Uniform Athlete Agent Act?

The Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA) is a model state law that provides a means of regulating the conduct of athlete agents. In most cases, the UAAA, as enacted, requires an athlete agent to register with a state authority, typically the Secretary of State, in order to act as an athlete agent in that state. During the registration process, an athlete agent must provide important background information, both professional and criminal in nature. As of July 2010, the UAAA has been passed in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes Illinois, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2011. Three more states have non-UAAA laws in place designed to regulate agents.

Has North Carolina adopted the Uniform Athlete Agent Act?

Yes.

Is there an alternative to registering in every state that has adopted the UAAA?

Yes. A key component of the UAAA is its registration requirements. To ease the burden on athlete agents, the UAAA provides a reciprocal registration process in which a valid certificate of registration in one state will be honored in other states that have adopted the act, if certain requirements are met. The reciprocal registration process increases efficiency and lessens the financial burden on athlete agents.

Are there penalties for failing to follow the law in states that have adopted the UAAA?

Yes. The UAAA provides for criminal, civil and/or administrative penalties, with enforcement at the state level. In addition, the UAAA creates a right of action for a college or university against an agent or former student-athlete for any damages caused by a violation of the act.