Why are “student-athletes” allowed to hire lawyers, but not agents?

June 7th, 2011

Shocker. Terrelle Pryor (whom, as a Penn State fan, I am not particularly fond of) decided not to return to his senior year at Ohio State, due to a slew of allegations lodged against him for impropriety. And how did he tell everyone? Through his lawyer!

“In the best interests of my teammates, I’ve made the decision to forgo my senior year of football at The Ohio State University,” Pryor said in a statement issued by Columbus lawyer Larry James.

James said entering the next NFL supplemental draft is Pryor’s “desire.” But James acknowledged labor uncertainty could lead to consideration of the Canadian Football League or working with a personal quarterback coach first.

James said Pryor told him of the decision within the hour and that Pryor said it was “in the best interest of my teammates.”

Who the heck is Larry James? A partner in a local law firm in Columbus.

I wonder how Mr. James is being paid. “Student-Athletes” cannot hire agents, but they can hire lawyers? Aren’t many sports agents lawyers? What’s the difference. It seems James is negotiating his path from College to professional sports. Isn’t that what an agent does? How can the NCAA prevent “student-athletes” from hiring agents, but not lawyers (that would probably run into some constitutional problems).

With James’ stellar resume, I’m sure Pryor cannot afford to pay his billable rate. Is there some sort of contingency arrangement? Dare I say, is that anything like a commission an athlete would charge? Did Pryor agree to pay him a certain amount based on future earnings? This entire process is such crock of crack.

Somewhere Eric Cartman is smirking; student-ath-o-letes?

Random aside. E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University went to Yale Law School and clerked for Chief Justice Burger.

Update: It seems Pryor’s “lawyer,” who is really just an agent, is negotiating a possible with a Canadian football team. From ESPN:

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired the negotiating rights toTerrelle Pryor and have spoken to Pryor’s lawyer about bringing the former Ohio State quarterback to the Canadian Football League.

Pryor’s attorney, Larry James, said Wednesday that the CFL is a genuine possibility for the ex-Buckeye.

“Yeah, it’s like I told (the Roughriders). My house is not for sale, but at the right price, it’s on the market,” James said.

James was in a meeting and had yet to speak with Pryor about the Roughriders, however. James said he did not believe Pryor had ever mentioned the CFL as a strong possibility in their conversations.

So yeah, a lawyer is an agent.