NCAA SPORTS Bill would penalize predator boosters
Rogue agents who entice collegiate athletes with money and gifts
are under attack, and now a state lawmaker wants to add another
predator to the sports most-wanted list.
State Rep. Dan Dodd, D-Hebron, introduced legislation yesterday
that would allow the Ohio attorney general to recover money or
damages from unscrupulous boosters and others who cause an athlete
“I believe this legislation is necessary to protect our
institutions of higher education from bad actors that care only
about themselves and nothing about the school or the havoc their
actions cause,” Dodd said. “It just expands the law to include
nonagents. This closes what I believe is a loophole.”
Last week, Attorney General Richard Cordray notified 91
registered sports agents in Ohio that he was going to begin
enforcing a 9-year-old law that governs them. The law carries civil
and criminal penalties.
But Dodd fears that current law also leaves too many outside the
law’s clutches, namely boosters or others who want to cash in on or
cozy up to a college athlete because of their talent and potential
In recent years, boosters have wreaked havoc on Ohio State’s
football and basketball teams.
A $500 handout by one booster led to the benching of former
quarterback Troy Smith days before the 2004 Alamo Bowl.
The housing and tutoring of several men’s basketball players,
including Boban Savovic, arranged by a pair of boosters, led to
That case cost the university more than $1 million in legal fees
and lost tournament revenues. The school also lost two scholarships
for a year.
The university banned those boosters, the harshest penalty it
“They really don’t have any teeth,” Dodd said. “This is a
Rogue boosters caused major damage at Oklahoma, Michigan and,
mostly famously, Southern Methodist University. SMU has yet to
recover from the
NCAA-ordered suspension of
football in 1987.
“We’re talking about people who intentionally break
NCAA rules,” Dodd said.
Ohio State officials said they applaud Dodd’s effort to
strengthen the state’s existing law.
“We would absolutely support anything that helps make our lives
easier with individuals who act outside the bounds of
NCAA rules and are trying to provide
extra benefits to student athletes,” said Doug Archie, OSU’s
director of compliance.
Dodd said that he wrote the bill because too many people who
have tampered with athletes have escaped punishment, including,
most recently, a former sports agent who told Sports Illustrated
this week that he tried to sign former Ohio State wide receiver
Santonio Holmes while he was still in college in 2005.
That agent, who can’t be punished because a four-year statute of
limitations has expired, and numerous other agents and boosters,
have skirted long enough, Dodd said.
“These people knew what they were doing was wrong,” he said.
“They exposed the university.”