• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

NCAA eligibility and professional contract

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

#1
What is the name of your state? Florida

Would the following scenario make a student-athlete ineligible per NCAA rules:

1. Athlete joins a club in their sport. To join the club, they must pass a tryout, like every club does. However, if the athlete passes the tryout, there are no "fees". The practices, games, uniforms, travel, and potential room/board are paid for by the club.

2. Once the athlete becomes part of the club, their parents and athlete sign a "future agent" contract. The club will act as the "agent" for the athlete if/when the athlete decides to pursue a professional career. Until that decision is made, the club will not pursue professional team tryouts or drafts, etc. on behalf of the athlete.

Here is what a typical case would look like:
The athlete tries out and makes the club at age 15. The parents/athlete sign a 10-year contract which would bind the athlete to the club, should he decide to go professional and the club would become the acting agent. That decision is up to the athlete to decide and until then, the club will simply act like any other club, providing coaching, training, games, etc. Athletes from outside the local area may also live at the club and would be provided room/board and use of a laptop for virtual school.

The question is: is there any way for a club to provide opportunities to athletes that cannot afford the expensive club fees we all know exist and still allow them to remain eligible for college athletics in the same sport? And obviously, any organization that would provide such service without charging the parents of the athlete needs to be able to recoup the investment in some way, thus the concept of the "future agent contract", should any of the players turn out to be good enough to turn professional down the road.

Sorry the explanation is long, but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible so the responses would be relevant.
 


quincy

Senior Member
#2
Sure. There are all sorts of ways an organization can provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford fees.

The club should discuss options with their attorney.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#3
The first one doesn't seem too bad. Covering the expenses of the sport as long as the child doesn't receive any preferential benefit doesn't affect the amateurism requirements in the NCAA. What you describe is not uncommon in the sponsored youth travel leagues.

The bigger issue is your idea of binding the child to an agency agreement.

The NCAA generally frowns on entering any agreement with agents REGARDLESS of whether that agent is currently active in finding a professional position for the athlete. You can inquire with them, but I can almost guarantee they will find this violates their amateurism rules.

Further, understand that the state of Florida highly regulates sports agents under their adoption of the UAAA model. If you are going to contemplate being an agent, you need to be licensed and aware of all the responsibilities and restrictions under Florida law (and any other state you may eventually operate).

Your next issue is that CHILDREN can not enter into contracts. A parent can not bind a child as to what they can do when they reach majority. I'm not sure how your exploitation is going to legally function. You'd need some sort of court-appointed guardian to accomplish a futures contract for a minor. I doubt many would be sympathetic to your ideas.

I think you'll have to find another way to exploit these children.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#4
The first one doesn't seem too bad. Covering the expenses of the sport as long as the child doesn't receive any preferential benefit doesn't affect the amateurism requirements in the NCAA. What you describe is not uncommon in the sponsored youth travel leagues.

The bigger issue is your idea of binding the child to an agency agreement.

The NCAA generally frowns on entering any agreement with agents REGARDLESS of whether that agent is currently active in finding a professional position for the athlete. You can inquire with them, but I can almost guarantee they will find this violates their amateurism rules.

Further, understand that the state of Florida highly regulates sports agents under their adoption of the UAAA model. If you are going to contemplate being an agent, you need to be licensed and aware of all the responsibilities and restrictions under Florida law (and any other state you may eventually operate).

Your next issue is that CHILDREN can not enter into contracts. A parent can not bind a child as to what they can do when they reach majority. I'm not sure how your exploitation is going to legally function. You'd need some sort of court-appointed guardian to accomplish a futures contract for a minor. I doubt many would be sympathetic to your ideas.

I think you'll have to find another way to exploit these children.
There are several legal issues that are raised by this club's described operation and purpose.

The least of them is finding a way to financially assist a needy player in acquiring uniforms and training. :)

I would think the organization has an attorney on board. If not, they should.
 
#5
Thanks everyone for the feedback.
The club does not actually exist (yet?). It is a proposal by a foreign professional club to open an extension here in the States.

The model is based on SA and European clubs, where college eligibility is not an issue.
The issue of a minor entering into a contract is also not a problem there because they have laws that govern professional athletes and the clubs that develop them that automatically bind them, regardless of age.

Looks like it is all irrelevant anyway here in the US, because any such contract at all would be deemed an NCAA violation, given FlyingRon's reply, and it is unlikely that any parent would enter into a contract that violates that eligibility.

There are other ways to fund such a club to provide opportunities for these athletes that have the talent but can't afford the expensive club fees, but they are all based on fund-raising, which takes the club out of its core-competence (development of athletes). I highly doubt they will want to spend the majority of their time raising money instead of raising successful athletes.

Unfortunately, it looks like the rules of the game are not designed to provide opportunities to low-income talent. Like everything else in this country, if you have money, you have opportunity, otherwise just go get a job. :(
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#7
My sister is a coach in a very involved travel software league (she's also probably one of the highest paid attorneys you'll find around these days). They do a heavy amount of fundraising to defray the expenses of the players on the team. They don't try to exploit the futures of the athletes.
Same thing pretty much holds for many intramural programs. They'd not function the way they did without a lot of "booster" activity.
 
#8
My sister is a coach in a very involved travel software league (she's also probably one of the highest paid attorneys you'll find around these days). They do a heavy amount of fundraising to defray the expenses of the players on the team. They don't try to exploit the futures of the athletes.
Same thing pretty much holds for many intramural programs. They'd not function the way they did without a lot of "booster" activity.
Yep, like I said, it can be done and is done through fund-raising and booster donations etc. However, the strength of the club is to develop world-class athletes, not raise money for athletes. As soon as you add a secondary function to the organization, that focus loses strength. You are dividing your efforts between two activities.

"Exploit" is a pretty strong word. Providing athletes, who otherwise would never have the opportunity to succeed in their sport, with world-class facilities, coaching, psychologists, fitness trainers, and professional opportunities and in return receiving a percentage of their multi-million dollar salaries when they succeed is not really exploiting, now is it? More like investing. The club spends millions of dollars developing these athletes and recoups the money if and when they succeed. If that were considered exploiting, you could claim the same thing of any college that provides athletes with scholarships. Are those colleges exploiting the athletes as well? For that matter, the NFL, NBA, and FIFA are all exploiting the athletes by making billions off their talents.

Unless you believe that all these athletes could make millions on their own without all of that expertise and networking that the club provided...
 
#9
Yep, like I said, it can be done and is done through fund-raising and booster donations etc. However, the strength of the club is to develop world-class athletes, not raise money for athletes. As soon as you add a secondary function to the organization, that focus loses strength. You are dividing your efforts between two activities.

"Exploit" is a pretty strong word. Providing athletes, who otherwise would never have the opportunity to succeed in their sport, with world-class facilities, coaching, psychologists, fitness trainers, and professional opportunities and in return receiving a percentage of their multi-million dollar salaries when they succeed is not really exploiting, now is it? More like investing. The club spends millions of dollars developing these athletes and recoups the money if and when they succeed. If that were considered exploiting, you could claim the same thing of any college that provides athletes with scholarships. Are those colleges exploiting the athletes as well? For that matter, the NFL, NBA, and FIFA are all exploiting the athletes by making billions off their talents.

Unless you believe that all these athletes could make millions on their own without all of that expertise and networking that the club provided...
Most of the players in the NBA and NFL come up through the ranks from pre-high school, high school, and college to make lots of money in the pros without clubs such as you are describing. If any exploiting of athletes is being done in that system it is happening at the college level.

I'm not a fan of the NCAA but they have the monopoly on college sports that the NBA and NFL have bought into and there isn't anything you can do about it.
 
#10
Most of the players in the NBA and NFL come up through the ranks from pre-high school, high school, and college to make lots of money in the pros without clubs such as you are describing. If any exploiting of athletes is being done in that system it is happening at the college level.

I'm not a fan of the NCAA but they have the monopoly on college sports that the NBA and NFL have bought into and there isn't anything you can do about it.
The NCAA seems to be loosening up on the NBA and NFL restrictions slightly, allowing multiple draft opportunities while in college. You are correct, though, that traditionally those sports have been strong in HS. In other sports, however, there is twice as much recruiting done in clubs than in HS teams. And in some sports, the top colleges actually recruit heavily out of the country. Soccer is a prime example.

But over the last decade, even basketball has lost a lot of strength in HS teams as clubs continue to grow and improve. State organizations are desperately trying to hold off that trend by enacting rules to weaken club sports. I live in Wisconsin, and I can tell you first-hand all the way back in the 80's that the WIAA attempted to block club sports from succeeding at every turn. But like you said, they are looking out for themselves, not necessarily what is best for the athletes and we need to work under the rules they control. It is unfortunate. Thanks again for the valuable information.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#11
The NCAA seems to be loosening up on the NBA and NFL restrictions slightly, allowing multiple draft opportunities while in college. You are correct, though, that traditionally those sports have been strong in HS. In other sports, however, there is twice as much recruiting done in clubs than in HS teams. And in some sports, the top colleges actually recruit heavily out of the country. Soccer is a prime example.

But over the last decade, even basketball has lost a lot of strength in HS teams as clubs continue to grow and improve. State organizations are desperately trying to hold off that trend by enacting rules to weaken club sports. I live in Wisconsin, and I can tell you first-hand all the way back in the 80's that the WIAA attempted to block club sports from succeeding at every turn. But like you said, they are looking out for themselves, not necessarily what is best for the athletes and we need to work under the rules they control. It is unfortunate. Thanks again for the valuable information.
If you are interested in starting a club, you should look at the ones operating successfully in the U.S. and pattern your own club after theirs.

Fundraising is an integral part of most youth-oriented clubs. It is hard to operate on fees from members alone.

I suggest you, and the others of you who are contemplating organizing, sit down with a business law professional to go over your goals and how best to legally accomplish them.

Your basic idea has merit. You just need to develop your idea within the confines of US law.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
#12
No, the NCAA is not loosening up things. A student can apply for draft entry only after he has finished participating in the sports. This applies to both the NFL and NBA draft. Baseball is slightly different in that the student doesn't actually "sign up" for it, so MLB can draft the kid and he's not ineligible until he signs a contract to play.
 

quincy

Senior Member
#13
No, the NCAA is not loosening up things. A student can apply for draft entry only after he has finished participating in the sports. This applies to both the NFL and NBA draft. Baseball is slightly different in that the student doesn't actually "sign up" for it, so MLB can draft the kid and he's not ineligible until he signs a contract to play.
To add: A working knowledge of the sports and sports organizations involved can be vital to operating a successful sports club for kids. Educating yourself, or surrounding yourself with those who are knowledgeable, is a good first step.
 
Sponsored Ad

Top