On Tuesday, Oklahoma Republican governor Mary Fallin signed into law Senate Bill 425, which will allow the state’s public universities the option to sue any third-party actor that “engages or conspires with another to engage in conduct in violation of the rules of the governing authority that causes the educational institution to incur sanctions by the governing authority or other economic penalties or losses.” In plainer terms, college sports programs in Oklahoma will now be able to sue the people who do their dirty work for getting caught doing said dirty work.
Although the bill is framed to reflect an academia-focused university protection, it was clearly drafted with the intention of opening the door for universities to pursue legal action against people the NCAA would deem unruly actors in the athletics community, be it agents signing or wooing recruits before the NCAA permits, or boosters attempting to finance unpaid athletes at their school of choice.
This is almost comically sinister. Universities are happy to look the other way and let these people do the underhanded work that keeps the big sports programs humming, and only feign outrage when one of these operators happens to get busted by the NCAA. Now, the schools in Oklahoma will be able to double-dip—they can reap all the benefits that a shady booster brings their sports program, and then turn around and sue that booster as soon as he gets caught by the NCAA. This is like allowing a cartel the option to sue its own dealers to recoup lost revenue after they get arrested.
The new law will go into effect on Nov. 1. You can read the full bill below: