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NCAA – Family Advisor vs. Agent


There is still a lot of confusion when it comes to the terms Family Advisor and Agent. Why the different names when they are essentially providing the same type of services? The term Family Advisor is basically used to distinguish the services offered. Also, the term is not referred to in the NCAA Operating Bylaws (only Agent). However, regardless of the term if a person or organization engages in activities earning money by representing and marketing athletes, they are considered sports agents.

Generally a Family Advisor advises a player for a fee whereas the agent represents a player in contract negotiations and is compensated once the student-athlete signs a contract with a professional team. In an nutshell the Family Advisor works on a fee base with no future interest in the student-athlete’s marketability while the Agent provides free advise with the understanding of being involved in the Student-Athlete’s future marketability.

The most important point is that the agency or the person, regardless of the term being used, is in compliance with the NCAA rules (2014-2015 NCAA Division I Manual 12.3 Use of Agents):

Not Allowed:

– A Student-Athlete to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletic ability or reputation in that sport.

– Entering into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sport negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.

– A Student-Athlete (or his or her relatives or friends) accepting transportation or other benefits from any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletic ability.


– Career Counseling and Internship/Job Placement Service

– Legal Counsel

– Athletic Scholarship Agent that represents a prospective student-athlete for compensation in placing the prospective student-athlete in a collegiate institution.

I met quite a few people who rely on, what I call, Agents free advise without realizing that they are potentially compromising their son’s or daughter’s NCAA eligibility. Be careful when selecting an Advisor that they adhere to the NCAA rules.

Do I need an Advisor? Not everybody does. An advisor can be a valuable asset to players and parents, providing guidance in selecting the right track and getting exposure to the NCAA schools. This is particularly true for European players and parents who are less familiar with the NCAA and its rules and regulations.


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