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Baseball and Hockey: Agents/Advisors and a Limited Exception

Who is an agent?

NCAA legislation defines an agent as anyone who

  • Represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing the individual’s athletics ability or reputation for financial gain, or
  • Seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from . . . a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete. 

Who is an advisor?

An advisor is a person (often an agent) who provides advice or counsel to an athlete or his family relating to the athlete’s value, proposed contract, and other subjects relating to the draft or other professional opportunities within the sport.

What can advisors do under NCAA rules?

An advisor can provide:

  • Advice regarding an individual’s draft status and market value
  • An evaluation of a proposed contract
  • Information, research, advice, etc. relating to the draft process

For baseball and hockey, the most common agent violations occur when advisors become agents under NCAA rules by communicating with professional clubs regarding their prospective student-athlete and student-athlete clients. Those communications (often related to what it would take to sign the athlete) are considered agent representation and result in hefty eligibility penalties.

There is a limited exception to the agent representation rule in baseball and hockey where an agent may represent a prospect, but only if all of the following are true:

  • The individual is a prospect (not a student-athlete) who has never enrolled full time in a 2- or 4-year college,
  • Communications occur post-draft with the club that drafted the prospect,
  • The prospect pays the going rate for services, and
  • The agreement for representation must end before initial full-time enrollment.