Sports agent contests fine for violation of state law

Friday, December 01, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 48

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Florida-based sports agent is contesting a fine imposed by Tennessee of more than $25,000 for representing a pitching prospect from the state before registering as an athlete's agent with the Tennessee Secretary of State's office.

David Sloane had been facing a $50,740 fine for representing Jordan Sheffield and Justus Sheffield. The fine was reduced to $25,740 last week when the counts involving his representation of Jordan Sheffield were dropped.

Sloane, who no longer represents either Sheffield brother, said he was unaware of the Tennessee state law requiring registration at the time and that he assumed his Florida license would carry over to other states. He noted that he's been representing major league baseball players for over four decades and that he registered in Tennessee once he became aware of the law.

"That is a law that is not widely known to the business community, as well as to the public at large," Sloane said Thursday at a hearing. "As soon as I became aware of the requirement to register, I registered immediately. Within 10 days of becoming aware of the requirement, the state of Tennessee had my application and my check for $500. As to any acts I committed, they were acts of omissions, not commission. They were unintentional."

A ruling on the fine will come at a later date.

Sloane cited a 2011 press release from Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett's office about an update to the state's sports agent law that acknowledged: "It isn't widely known, but the State of Tennessee does play a role in regulating the activities of sports agents who operate in our state."

Laws regulating sports agents exist in at least 40 states , but structures and penalties can vary from state to state. Tennessee Secretary of State's office spokesman Adam Ghassemi said Tennessee's version of the law allows the state to assess civil penalties up to $25,000 for each violation.

Jordan Sheffield was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 36th overall pick in the 2016 draft after attending Vanderbilt for three years. Justus Sheffield was a Cleveland Indians first-round draft pick in 2014 and now pitches in the New York Yankees organization.

Sloane believes he was fined as retaliation because he sued Justus Sheffield for breach of contract over a dispute in Sloane's pay. That suit has been dismissed.