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Saturday, October 16, 2010
Agents recouping illegal payments?

People have been talking about this week's Sports Illustrated, featuring a confessional article by former NFL agent Josh Luchs, who admits to paying numerous college players over the years to induce them to sign with him.

One interesting tidbit: Luchs mentions that prior to 1999, the NFLPA had a rule that required a player who had taken money from an agent to repay that money; the rule was changed in 1999. Thus, Luchs says, agents formerly had "the threat of litigation" as an additional incentive for a player to retain that agent for the rookie contract; after 1999, that incentive was gone, making it more likely that an agent might pay college players and have nothing to show for it.

Here is my question (assuming Fuchs' version is accurate): On what legal theory was the agent able to sue that player? There is no contract, so it can't be breach of contract. Plus, any contract would seem to be void as against public policy (of not paying amateur athletes). Maybe unjust enrichment--the players have received (and retained) something to which they are not entitled? But does some idea of unclean hands kick in--the agent is claiming that the player was unjustly enriched by money the agent unlawfully gave him? Is the claim for a breach of NFLPA rules, made enforceable in court?

Does anyone know the details of this old regime? And does anyone know why the NFLPA changed the rule?


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Anonymous Pardons Canada -- 10/19/2010 3:13 AM  

Thanks for the posts on "Sports Law"; very interesting

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/19/2010 4:24 PM  

Since when does a violation of an NCAA rule constitute a "public policy" that justifies not enforcing a contract?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/20/2010 12:09 PM  

That sports law is very interesting.
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Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/21/2010 1:49 AM  

I think Luchs misspoke or did not know the rule. I will check. However, since at least 1983 it has been against the PA rules for an agent to provide anything of value as an inducement to sign. The threat to sue was simply a threat. I do not recall the year enacted, but filing a suit for something subject to mandatory arbitration is also violation. And, even if a suit was not a violation during the early 90s, it would have been subect to arbitration. If a suit was filed a motion to compel arbitration would have been interposed. No agent will file an arbitration using the process set up by the PA and thereby show he violated the rules.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/22/2010 10:13 PM  

They must be apprehended and put in jail.

Anonymous escalante blogger -- 10/28/2010 12:39 AM  

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