The NCAA's Agent Certification Program: A Critical and Legal Analysis
Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, 11 (2), 2020
28 Pages Posted: 27 May 2020 Last revised: 11 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 26, 2020
On August 8, 2018, the National Collegiate Athletic Association revised its rules to allow men’s college basketball players, for the first time, to retain agents for representation in the National Basketball Association draft. However, according to the NCAA’s new rules, a men’s college basketball player could only select an agent who first received NCAA approval subject to the association’s new agent certification program, which became operational in August 2019. The NCAA based its new agent certification program on the recommendations of an April 2018 report issued by the NCAA Commission on College Basketball, which concluded that “some” men’s basketball players “needed earlier professional advice to determine whether it is in their best interests to declare for the league draft.” This article introduces the NCAA’s new agent certification program, while providing a critical analysis of its policies and procedures. It explains why the NCAA lacks the legal authority to regulate and certify men's basketball player agents under its new agent certification program and why the program likely constitutes an illegal group boycott that violates federal antitrust law, specifically § 1 of the Sherman Act.
Keywords: NCAA, sports agent certification, legal authority, antitrust law, sports law, labor law, private association law, Sherman Act
JEL Classification: Z2, Z22, Z28, Z29, K1, K2, K21, K23, K31, K4, I2, I20, I23, I24, I28, I3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation