Governor signs law to protect student athletes

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed into a law a measure that increases the regulation of sports agents in Oregon to protect the college eligibility of student athletes and the integrity of amateur sports.

The measure was sponsored by Oregon State Reps. Phil Barnhart and Gene Whisnant, and Senate President Peter Courtney.

“Our students deserve a chance to play amateur sports without accidentally turning professional from the unscrupulous actions of opportunistic agents. This bill provides protections that our young athletes need to play and finish their education,” said Barnhart, a Democrat from Eugene.

House Bill 3296 broadens the definition of athlete agents to include “runners” who recruit athletes for sports management firms; requires that agents notify the educational institution in writing before initiating contact with a student athlete; broadens state law to include elementary and secondary school student athletes; makes a violation of the athlete agent law an unlawful trade practice; and allows athletes to take civil action against agents if they are harmed by violations of the act.

"Those who attempt to take advantage of student athletes in Oregon are not welcome here,” said Courtney, a Democrat from the Salem/Gervais/Woodburn area.