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A league source tells us that, in its second year of existence, the NFL Players Association’s rule prohibiting agents from talking to underclassmen prior to their entry into the pool of players who’ll be drafted in April isn’t working.
Per the source, violations of the rule are rampant, with many agents finding ways to communicate with players who are supposedly off limits.
As we hear it, some agents are using former NFL players whom the agents represented in their playing days.  Others rely upon marketing agents or financial representatives, to whom the restriction does not apply, to get to players less than four years removed from high school.
And so, as it was feared when the rule was first enacted, the only agents respecting the rule are (apparently) the agents who generally follow the rules.  This means that unscrupulous types (and you know who you are) are getting an unfair advantage as to these younger players.
The problem could be even more pronounced this year, since there’s a chance that underclassmen will flood the draft pool, due to fears that the current windfall-heavy structure for paying rookies could be changing.
Let’s face it, how can a player make a meaningful decision as to the agent he’ll hire if the player isn’t even allowed to start talking to potential candidates for the job until the middle of January?  By then, a plan already should be in place for all-star games and pre-draft training regimens.
The NFLPA implemented the “junior rule” in 2007 as a reaction to the embarrassing circumstances that arose in connection with the recruitment of Saints running back Reggie Bush while he was at USC.  The irony, of course, is that money was given to Bush and his family (allegedly) not by an NFLPA-certified contract representative, but by one or more marketing agents, who aren’t regulated in any way by the union.
And so the circumstances that directly contributed to the Bush fiasco still exist.
Hopefully, this is an issue that the next Executive Director of the NFLPA will revisit — with the application of sound logic and common sense.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Union
  1. Patrick says: Dec 25, 2008 8:44 AM

    Another good reason for a rookie salary cap…increase the heck fines,NFL hasn’t been shy on that for the players, why not(tax) the agents also…

  2. rolltide says: Dec 25, 2008 11:18 AM

    You must be mistaken about Reggie Bush. If he had taken money, surely USC would be on probation now. I mean, the NCAA is a fair and balanced organization that runs a tight ship!

  3. moonbeam says: Dec 25, 2008 1:16 PM

    bernie madoff,agents…what’s the diff.

  4. teddybayer says: Dec 25, 2008 2:47 PM

    “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar” is the single greatest headline ever written.
    But once again, Dr. Florio, J.D., has written another misleading headline. “Junior Rule Violations Run Rampant” is misleading. I read it and thought that the story was now many, many people were now attempting to tackle Junior Seau, as opposed to last weekend where just one guy tried it, I don’t know why. How about…oh, wtf, you do it. It’s your site.
    In the future, if you use the aforementioned single greatest headline ever written as your template, confusion would be minimized. And if I can be of help, you have my email.

  5. LiveNBreath Football says: Dec 25, 2008 3:19 PM

    Well, the players who want GOOD representation in the future, should just realize that anyone contacting them now is not really trustworthy. Therefore, they should not sign with them. By this point, a player should know how to keep in shape for a couple of weeks by himself.

  6. FlorioHatesMyTeamMoreThanHeHatesYourTeamWaahhh says: Dec 25, 2008 4:43 PM

    Wwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaattttttt?!?!?!?!?!?!? There are people outside of Bill Belichick that try to gain a competitive advantage? When the hell did this happen? After reading PFT for the last year and a half, I am convinced that only BB is the one that bends rules. Just ask the fan base of the other 31 teams. I guess all of the rightrous jackasses on here will have to stop rooting for their favorite college players, but those players might be helping agents bend rules to give said agent a bit of a competitive edge against other agents when it comes time to sign said player to a contract. But then again, since only BB bends rules, this story must just be a bunch of bologna

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