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

See all articles by Marc Edelman

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law; Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Richard T. Karcher

Eastern Michigan University

Date Written: April 26, 2020

Abstract

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

Edelman, Marc and Karcher, Richard T., The NCAA's Agent Certification Program: A Critical and Legal Analysis (April 26, 2020). Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, 11 (2), 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3585962

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Richard T. Karcher (Contact Author)

Eastern Michigan University ( email )

318 Porter Building
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
United States
(734) 487-9134 (Phone)

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