Last year the Associated Press found that most states do not enforce athlete-agent regulations; however, Texas was found to be one of the few states that consistently enforced such legislation. In fact, in the last two years, Texas has levied over $17,000.00 in fines based on prohibited athlete-agent conduct. On May 16, 2011, Texas Representative Harold Dutton’s and Texas Senator Royce West’s bill to more heavily fine athlete-agents was passed by the Texas Senate. If signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, Texas will have the most stringent athlete-agent laws in the country.
Representative Dutton and Senator West indicated they want Texas athlete-agent laws to have muscle and want agents to think twice before violating state law. As a result, the bill calls for a felony conviction and up to ten years in prison if an athlete-agent or runner lures an athlete into a contract that would cause him/her to lose their intercollegiate athletic eligibility. This would substantially change Section 2501.501 of the Texas Occupation Code, which calls for a Class A misdemeanor if an athlete-agent performs a prohibited act. Additionally, the bill requires an agent to post a $50,000 bond, be certified by a national professional sports association, bans athlete-agents from providing anything of value to an athlete or his/her family before his/her college eligibility is exhausted, and requires individuals to register as agents (rather than a corporate entity).