Legislation to modify the Uniform Athletes Agent Act passed the full Senate today. Authored by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, HB 1586 will hit agents that break the law with stricter penalties. Bingman was encouraged to see the bill supported by a majority of Senators, 47 to 0.
“Athlete agents need to have skin in the game,” Bingman said. “Currently, agents breaking the rules have little more than a slap on the wrist while there have been many cases where an agent has ruined the student athlete’s college career.”
Bingman said that this legislation could be a model to other states looking to strike out bad agents.
"We are encouraged by the passage of the Sports Agents Act and the tools it now provides the Attorney General's Office to prosecute criminals who seek to target Oklahoma families and collegiate athletes," Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. "We will continue to work with compliance officials and colleges across the state to find, deter and prosecute unscrupulous agents whenever they violate the law."
The bill will allow the Secretary of State or the Attorney General to issue subpoenas for any material relevant to the administration of the Uniform Athlete Agents Act. First infractions will be a misdemeanor subject to fine’s of no less than $10,000 and second infractions will be felonies subject to fines no less than $50,000. Agents will be required to register a bond with the Secretary of State as a condition to remain eligible to represent athletes.
The athletic directors from OU and OSU gave the following statements after the passage of the bill:
“The changes to the Uniform Agent Act are first and foremost a victory for the young people who participate in athletics at our universities. We are grateful to Pro Tem Bingman, Representative Thomsen, Attorney General Pruitt and all the legislators of our state government for putting forth and passing a bill that will carry severe consequences for those who would manipulate the system and jeopardize the college careers of many student-athletes.”
- University of Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione
“We thank Sen. Bingman for his leadership on this important issue and we are pleased to see legislation that will restrict the actions of sports agents and their representatives. Through the implementation of these increased restrictions and penalties, the commitment by the Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s office, and the assistance of athletic departments, the State of Oklahoma should experience greater control over those individuals in the sports agent industry that put the well-being and eligibility of our student-athletes at-risk. Oklahoma State University will continue to work with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General to monitor the actions of all agents and their associates.”
- Oklahoma State University Athletic Director Mike Holder
The bill now returns to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.