Sports Law Blog
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Thursday, October 26, 2006
LSU Has Assistant Coach Arrested
LSU assistant strength coach, Travelle Gaines, was arrested and jailed this week for.... illegal steroid distribution? No... For assault and battery? No... For gambling, stealing, possession of narcotics? No, no, and no. Gaines has been accused of violating Louisiana state agent regulations by inviting student-athletes to his home to meet a sports agent and suggesting the agent should represent the athletes. University police also arrested sports agent Charles Taplin earlier this month for attempting to contact student athletes. According to LSU, notes and a cellphone gathered during Taplin's arrest, combined with interviews with several student-athletes, pointed to Gaines as assisting Taplin.
Louisiana, like most states, requires agents to be certified and prohibits all sorts of behavior by agents. Section 4:424 of Louisiana's statute regulating agents prohibits an athlete agent or an attorney from:
(1) entering into "any agreement, written or oral, by which the athlete agent offers anything of value, including the rendition of free or reduced-price legal services, to any employee of an institution of higher education located in [Louisiana] in return for the referral of any clients by that employee, and
(2) directly or indirectly contacting "an athlete who is participating in a team sport at an institution of higher learning located in [Louisiana] to discuss the athlete agent's representation of the athlete in the marketing of the athlete's athletic ability or reputation."
The statute provides that an athlete agent commits an offense if the agent knowingly or intentionally violates the provisions of Section 4:424, and that conviction of an offense is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.
The statute regulates the conduct of agents and defines "athlete agent" as "a person who, directly or indirectly, recruits or solicits an athlete to enter into an agent contract or professional sport services contract with that person, or who for a fee procures, offers, promises, or attempts to obtain employment for an athlete with a professional sports team."
Unless there is more to the story, Gaines was put in jail for introducing some players to an agent. NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 even permits head coaches to contact agents to assist the athlete in selecting an agent and determining his market value. LSU might be justified in firing him, but is it justifiable for LSU to have this guy arrested?