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Turner: Punish Those Who Lure Student Athletes

TRENTON – Sports agents or recruiters who bestow gifts on high school athletes to lure them into professional contracts or agreements for college scholarships could face fines of up to $10,000 under a bill released today by a Senate committee.

“There should be serious consequences if the pervasive influence of big-money sports contracts and other lures for athletes touches our high school students,” said Senator Shirley K. Turner, Chair of the Senate Education Committee and sponsor of the bill, S-1634.

“Until now, we’ve focused our blame predominantly on the high school student who accepts a gift of either money or an illegal trip and mostly ignored the sources of the temptation – the sports agents or the high-pressure college recruiters,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer.

The measure, released by Senator Turner’s committee, would impose a civil penalty of from $1,000 to $10,000 on any person who gives a gift, service, favor, job or any thing of value to a student-athlete with the knowledge that it would jeopardize the student’s amateur athlete status.

“Young athletes can have their lives changed forever by making the mistake of accepting gifts or favors from recruiters,” Senator Turner said. “It’s totally appropriate to put a stiff financial penalty on the adults who would be willing to ruin amateur status of children.”

The bill, which now faces floor action in the Senate would require its provisions to be circulated among student athletes throughout the State by local school boards and administrators.

Eligibility standards for high school athletes are set by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

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