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What's a Clean Agent to Do? The Case for a Cause of Action Against a Players Association

32 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2010 Last revised: 12 Nov 2011

Chris Deubert

Berg & Androphy

Date Written: December 4, 2010


Being a professional athlete remains one of the most often listed dream jobs. As athletic ability pares down those dreams, many turn their eyes to a related and also highly dreamt of profession, that of an athlete-agent. As the business of professional sports has grown over time so have the many industries and professions related to sports. Among those industries is the now hyper-competitive agent industry.

As the agent industry became more competitive, agent misconduct became more prevalent. Over the years agents have been accused of breaches of fiduciary duties, fraud, conflicts of interests, tortious interference with contractual relations and many more questionable activities. As the exclusive representative of the players under labor law, player associations began to adopt regulations governing the conduct of agents in the 1980s. Nevertheless agent misconduct continued and at the turn of the century most state governments and the federal government passed legislation subjecting agents to criminal and civil liability for their wrongdoings.

Despite the many layers of regulation agent misconduct is still prevalent and highly visible in scandals often involving college student-athletes. However, despite what universities, legislators, coaches and the general public may think, not all agents are engaged in immoral, impermissible or illegal behavior. While there are several layers of legislation and regulation for athlete-agents, enforcement is severely lacking. Consequently, agents that believe in carrying on their profession in an honest and legal manner (“clean agents”) are left at a significant competitive disadvantage. Seemingly betrayed by the very schemes they willingly obey, this article will make the case for a cause of action by agents against their preeminent regulator, the player associations.

Keywords: Agents, NFLPA, MLBPA, NHLPA, NBPA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA, Agent Regulation, UAAA, SPARTA

Suggested Citation

Deubert, Chris, What's a Clean Agent to Do? The Case for a Cause of Action Against a Players Association (December 4, 2010). Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 18, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Chris Deubert (Contact Author)

Berg & Androphy ( email )

120 W. 45th Street
38th Floor
New York, NY 10036
United States

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