MU Basketball Coaches Voice Support of Proposal To Curb Illegal Activites of Sports Agents

Dec. 16, 1999

Milwaukee, WI -- High-profile athletes would be protected from exploitation by dishonest agents under a bill that will be introduced by State Representative Steve Wieckert (R-Appleton).

Marquette University Men's and Women's Basketball Coaches Tom Crean and Terri Mitchell voiced their support of the legislation at a Marquette University press conference today.

"Any legislation that protects student-athletes is favorable. We appreciate the state legislature looking out for the welfare of our student-athletes," said Mitchell.

Under the Wieckert proposal, sports agents would have to register with the state, create language in contracts between the athlete and the agent which would make the athlete understand the ramification of signing with an agent, and imposes civil and criminal penalties who exploit students.

"This legislation will help stop illegal activity that damages our students and universities," said Wieckert. "The law currently does little to prevent unscrupulous sports agents from offering bribes or gifts to student athletes. All too often, the student loses their scholarship, the institution is punished, and the sports agent walks away scott-free," Wieckert said.

Wieckert first learned about the issue while watching ESPN's "Behind the Lines". The program examined the practices of sports agents. In addition, the show looked at the impact of agents on universities and student-athletes.

"With the resurgence of high-level college athletics within the state's institutions these activities could be a problem," Wieckert says. "I don't want to see the problems that occurred at Penn State University or the University of Massachusetts happen here in Wisconsin. In the end, I am trying to head off the inevitable train wreck predatory agents can cause."

To draft this legislation, Wieckert has been working with groups such as: the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Sports Lawyers Association, University of Texas official and former football coach John Mackovic, the Big Ten Conference, Conference USA, Midwestern Collegiate Conference and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.

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