Politics

As federal corruption investigations swirl in college basketball, Kentucky lawmakers are considering a measure that would tighten regulations that apply to sports agents.

In recent months, both University of Kentucky and University of Louisville men’s basketball programs have been scrutinized for possible pay-to-play schemes in which sports agents paid or loaned money to recruits or their families.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, said his bill is identical to legislation being considered by states across the country.

“We need to know who these agents are, we need to know what they’re up to in order to effectively safeguard our student-athletes,” McGarvey said.

Senate Bill 228 would make the licensure process for sports agents more comprehensive and require them to file with the state’s Public Protection Cabinet.

Agents would have to prove that they don’t have a suspended license in other states, aren’t facing any sanctions and don’t have any record of crimes involving fraud or sexual misconduct.

U of L’s men’s basketball program was the target of an FBI corruption investigation last year that ultimately led to the firing of coach Rick Pitino and athletics director Tom Jurich.

The investigation alleged that Adidas used sports agents to funnel money to the family of a basketball recruit sought by U of L at the request of Pitino.

One current and two former UK men’s basketball players were also named in an FBI investigation involving sports agents, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The bill would also expand the definition of “sports agent” to include other intermediaries like financial advisers.

“What this bill says is we’re going to cut those loopholes out,” McGarvey said. “If you’re trying to influence a potential player or their family with someone you’re affiliated with, that person’s an agent and you’re an agent.”

The bill is a model piece of legislation created by the Uniform Law Commission, a national nonprofit.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.