Ticktin Minute June 13, 2016 – How an Attorney Can Guide Your Amateur Athlete

The 2016 MLB Draft inspires thousands of amateurs

How an Attorney Can Guide Your Amateur Athlete

By Michael Vater

While attending the University of Notre Dame, I had the pleasure of rooming during multiple years with members of the Notre Dame Hockey team. Many members of the team had advisors who assisted their families and the athletes with making decisions that would affect their future pro aspirations. The use of a “player advisor” or “family advisor” is not only permitted by the NCAA but is often encouraged at seminars to assist with ensuring the athletes remain eligible.

The use of family advisors is particularly timely, as Major League Baseball began its 2016 MLB Draft last Wednesday. Some will have to make a tough decision as to whether to turn pro or continue on their journey by playing in junior college or a four year institution. MLB rules permit players to be drafted at three times in their lifetime: at the conclusion of high school, at the conclusion of their junior year of college, and the conclusion of their senior year. The athlete must also attend a school in the United States.

Over 1500 athletes are drafted during this week by professional teams from around the country. Of that group, many of those drafted will choose to turn down the opportunity to play pro ball this summer and continue their dreams of playing in college. During this particularly exciting time for young athletes, it is important to remember that by hiring an agent, the athlete could lose his or her amateur status, or worse, face sanctions including the loss of valuable experience and exposure by facing suspension. Another trap these talented amateurs must also seek to avoid would be to engage in any kind of relationship with an agent or representative who offer side deals or loans against future earnings. In some cases, these interactions have lead directly to situations where they were later threatened into unfair contracts or negotiations by these same individuals.

This week a great referral for The Ticktin Law Group is someone who’s child is in high school or college looking to make sure sound decisions are made to protect the future of the athlete. At The Ticktin Law Group our experienced attorneys will be able to ensure that the athlete does not risk his or her amateur status.

Unfortunately, there have been a series of well publicized missteps by collegiate and high school athletes that have cost millions of dollars simply as a result of following incomplete or bad advice from unscrupulous or inexperienced advisors. As attorneys, we understand the laws and regulations surrounding amateurism. It is important to note: there is little regulation in the world of family advisors. Be wary of individuals or advisors with dubious or unclear ties to the sport your athlete is pursuing and be certain to fully vet and interview all potential advisors before choosing to accept or follow their instruction or tutelage.

Family advisors can help the high school hockey player determine whether it would be best to continue his career in one of the Canadian Junior Leagues or the American NCAA College System. Family advisors are also commonly encouraged for athletes pursuing their dreams in football, baseball, basketball as well as a myriad of other professional sports and activities.

If you are seeking guidance for yourself or a family member, please email or call us right away. We are here to help. As attorneys, we are not just legal practitioners, we are also counselors on the law.