Athlete agents are governed by Chapter 2051 of the Texas Occupations Code and the secretary of state’s administrative rules found in title 1, Chapter 78 of the Texas Administrative Code. Before an agent may recruit or solicit an athlete to enter into an agent contract, a financial services contract, or a professional sports services contract, an agent must obtain a certificate of registration from the secretary of state.
“Athlete” means an individual who:
- is eligible to participate in intercollegiate sports contests as a member of a sports team or as an individual competitor in a sport at an institution of higher education; or
- has participated as a member of an intercollegiate sports team or as an individual competitor in an intercollegiate sports at an institution of higher education and has never signed an employment contract with a professional sports team.
Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 2051.001(2).
“Institution of higher education” means an institution of higher education or a private or independent institution of higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, that is a member of a national association for the promotion and regulation of intercollegiate athletics. Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 2051.001(5).
Each institution of higher education is required to designate a compliance coordinator and report the name of the compliance coordinator to the secretary of state. Tex. Occ. Code Ann. § 2051.253. A list of athletics compliance coordinators (PDF) for Texas institutions of higher education may be found here.
Types of Agent Registration
As of September 1, 2011, Texas has two types of athlete agents: professional and limited. Both of these are registrations held by individuals, not organizations.
Professional athlete agents must be certified by at least one national professional sports association, such as the National Football League Players Association, National Basketball Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association, National Hockey League Players' Association, or United States Soccer Federation.
Limited athlete agents are not required to be certified by a national professional sports association, but may only represent an athlete in a sport that does not have a national professional sports association that certifies or licenses agents, such as golf or tennis.
First and foremost, an athlete agent is responsible for knowing the applicable law and being truthful and complete in all dealings as an athlete agent. Other responsibilities of Texas athlete agents include:
- Timely file with the secretary of state:
- Copies of athlete agent contracts
- Bonds to act as an agent, and, if applicable, to enter into financial services contracts
- Annual registration renewals
- Notification of any criminal convictions for offenses other than Class C misdemeanors
- Notification of decertification by a national professional sports association
- Retain and permit inspection of records
- Disclose required information:
- To athletes related to college eligibility
- To athletes in athlete agent contracts
- To the secretary of state related to registration, renewal, and individual solicitors
- To the public in advertising
- To athletic directors regarding parent- or guardian-initiated contact
Violating Chapter 2051 or the administrative rules can result in serious penalties, including thousands of dollars in monetary fines, as well as subject an athlete agent to civil suit or conviction of a criminal offense. Violations include:
- Failing to fulfill the responsibilities of a Texas athlete agent (discussed in the above section)
- Initiating unauthorized contact with an athlete
- Contact or contract with athlete before completion of last college game
- Offering or furnishing something of value in return for a contract
- Certain types of referral and fee sharing agreements