Rule Change Keeping NFL Agents on the Run

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(from Sports Business Journal, October, 21, 2012) Alan Herman, who was once a NFL player and now an agent, normally flies around 65,000 miles during the fall recruiting football players for the next year’s NFL draft. This year Herman says he expects to add another 150,000 miles because he has a lot more players to talk to. It is said that the business of recruiting college football players has changed because of two major measures passed by the NFLPA. First, the union revoked the “Junior Rule,” which prohibited agents from any contact with college players who were less than three years removed from high school. Secondly, it passed a new rule that says only NFLPA-certified agents can recruit players. Basically, the pool of players agents can recruit now is larger.

Agents agreed that the end of the Junior Rule was changing the recruiting routine. The families of underclassman can now talk to agents and sign with agents at a younger age, even though most do not until after their last bowl game in college. Having the younger guys be eligible to talk to agents has now put agents at an all-time traveling and meeting high. The new rule about only NFLPA-certified agents can recruit a player was designed to raise the standard of player representation and is part of the union’s ongoing effort to keep unqualified people away from players. Pat Dye Jr., veteran agent, said he was in favor of the new rule changes, but he wonders how the NFLPA is going to enforce the new regulation.

Agents are curious to see what the new rules do to the market place, and what agents would end up signing top talent under the new rules. Most say that it is too early to tell, but hopefully these changes will be positive for everyone in the long run.