Here’s our weekly review of obscure Texas laws. Although enacted in 1989, this harkens back to the era when SMU football was a powerhouse (before they received the death penalty). I don’t know whether they have a similar law in Florida, but from the looks of things the Miami Hurricanes may be finding out real soon.
Section 32.441 – Illegal Recruitment of an Athlete
Under this law, “[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.”
Of course there is an exception if the person providing the benefit is related to the athlete.
Violations of this law are broken down as follows:
(1) Class C misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is less than $20;
(2) Class B misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is $20 or more but less than $500;
(3) Class A misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is $500 or more but less than $1,500;
(4) state jail felony if the value of the benefit is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000;
(5) felony of the third degree if the value of the benefit is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000;
(6) felony of the second degree if the value of the benefit is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or
(7) felony of the first degree if the value of the benefit is $200,000 or more.
This is one of those laws, however, in which you might see a lot of prosecutorial discretion. After all, the elected district attorney might not position himself well for reelection if he goes around prosecuting the local cattle barons and oil tycoons.