Rebuilding the Prevent Defense: Why Unethical Agents Continue to Score and What Can Be Done to Change the Game

Rebuilding the Prevent Defense: Why Unethical Agents Continue to Score and What Can Be Done to Change the Game

R. Alexander Payne · 13 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. 657

Abstract

Despite decades of regulation, college athletics continues to face problems stemming from agents’ unethical and illegal tactics in recruiting student-athletes. The NCAA, Congress, state legislatures, and professional players unions have all sought to regulate the interaction between athletes and agents in various ways, often leading to conflicts and gaps within existing laws, which some agents readily exploit. Agents frequently slip through the law’s porous prevent defense while the brunt of enforcement and public opprobrium falls on unsophisticated student-athletes and their schools—who are frequently outsiders to the saga. This Note explores the causes resulting in an atmosphere of noncompliance, including the varying goals of regulators and the attitudes of student-athletes. This Note recommends changes within the current system to encourage agent compliance, ensure greater transparency in the interactions between agents and student-athletes, and lessen draconian NCAA restrictions on student-athlete behavior. A unified, streamlined, less restrictive system will be more protective of student-athletes interests and encourage ethical agent behavior.