Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



The issue of professional athletes siring children out of wedlock was first thrust into the national conscience in an article in Sports Illustrated in May 1998. The SI piece was followed by several newspaper articles in various cities around the country, but like most hot news topics, it was quickly forgotten as the nation moved on to more pressing issues. This Note aims to revisit this issue with an eye towards practical and legal resolution of this pervasive problem, suggesting ways that lawyers and agents can establish child support trusts to represent their clients' interests and provide the best result for any children involved.

First, this Note will discuss generally why a trust is a good solution to the problems of "deadbeat dads," short careers, and long-term child rearing costs. Then, it will examine the laws of four particularly relevant states regarding child support and the use of trusts, looking specifically at successful implementations of trusts and at the potential pitfalls that practitioners can avoid. The Note will then move on to describe the structure of the optimal fund for this situation and how to choose a trustee. And finally, it will discuss the considerable tax implications of creating such a trust and how to defuse potential tax problems.

While the principles contained in this Note apply to any situation, the problem involving professional athletes is gender specific. First, this problem has not surfaced yet in women's professional sports. Second, biology dictates that men can produce many more children much more quickly than women-- a woman can only get pregnant once at a time, no matter how many men she sleeps with, while a man can father as many children as there are women to sleep with him.