League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

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League of Fans is motivated by people, just like you, who are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference. We work with concerned citizens, sports fans, civic groups and communities to increase awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, influence a broad range of issues in sports at all levels and encourage the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.

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We often think of sports as outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. But the many benefits to society that sports can provide are sometimes undermined by a different set of values, often based on the quest for higher and higher profits at the expense of fans, taxpayers, communities, culture and social justice.

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League of Fans Supports National Legislation Targeting Unethical Sports Agents

The "Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act" or "SPARTA" protects student-athletes by prohibiting sports agents from tempting players to sign or agree to an agency contract by:

- Providing false or misleading information, or making false or misleading promises or representations;

- Providing anything of value, such as gifts, cash or a loan to the student-athlete or anyone associated with the athlete;

- Failing to disclose in writing to the student-athlete that he or she may lose NCAA eligibility after signing an agency contract; or

- Predating or postdating contracts.

SPARTA brings sports agents under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and considers sports agents who lure student-athletes with lies and gifts to enter into agency contracts in violation of the FTC's unfair and deceptive businesses act.

Unethical behavior is already outlawed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and some states, but jurisdictional issues and lack of uniformity have stymied meaningful enforcement. Seventeen states have no laws regulating sports agents. SPARTA has gained broad national support.

The cosponsors of the House Bill (H.R. 361) are Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE). The legislation passed the House of Representatives on June 4, 2003.

"All sports agents know it's against NCAA rules for athletes to sign with them and still compete in college sports," Rep. Gordon said. "But that doesn't stop unscrupulous agents from disregarding the rules and aggressively pursuing these kids anyway, possibly ruining a chance to compete on the college level and get a degree."

"I experienced first-hand the difficulty in trying to keep agents and their runners from attempting to illegally recruit my players with cash and gifts. These student-athletes are just trying to reach for their dreams and too often an unethical sports agent will take advantage of them and cause them to lose everything," Rep. Osborne said. "This legislation works to put a stop to unethical sports agents preying upon hundreds of college athletes on campuses across the U.S."

The legislation must next be approved by the Senate. The Senate's version of SPARTA (S. 1170) was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on June 3, 2003.

League of Fans urges everyone to contact their respective Senators and urge them to support this important legislation. The tampering by agents encroaching into amateur sports who wish to feed off of student-athletes must stop.

Vote for S. 1170! Visit the Senate website to contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/

Or call the US Capitol Switchboard at: (202) 224-3121


Access and View the Legislation:

H.R. 361 - Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (type HR 361 for "Bill Number")

S. 1170 - Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (type S 1170 for "Bill Number")


More on SPARTA:

Associated Press Bill Targets Unethical Sports Agents (6/4/03)

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) Gordon's Sports Agent Bill Slated For House Consideration (5/21/03)

Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE) House Passes Rep. Osborne's SPARTA Legislation (6/4/03)