Nothing excites Texans like football (especially Red Raider football). Nothing excites the Texas legislature like creating a new criminal law for every perceived societal problem. Combine the two and you get…
32.441. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the consent of the governing body or a designee of the governing body of an institution of higher education, the person intentionally or knowingly solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from another on an agreement or understanding that the benefit will influence the conduct of the person in enrolling in the institution and participating in intercollegiate athletics.
This “crime” ranges from a Class C misdemeanor (for a benefit less than $20) to a first degree 5-99 years felony (for over $200,000).
I find more than a small amount of hypocrisy in the law. Unlike baseball, we force college football players into an amateur minor league system. College football players have amazing skills that generate millions in revenue for their schools, yet the athletes see little of that. The last big 12 TV contract was for $500 million dollars. BCS bowl games pay each college $17.5 million. The “governing body”, in this case the NCAA, is not sharing that money with the players. And if boosters, fans, or alumni voluntarily pay we make that a crime.
I’m sure proponents of this law will argue for sanctity of amateur athletics. But do really need another criminal law just to protect the NCAA minor league football monopoly?