In a March 4 appearance on PFT Live, sports lawyer David Cornwell explained that decertification would end the regulation of player agents.
And now that the union has decertified, a source with knowledge of the situation tells us that the NFLPA has informed the agents that they’re essentially on their own.
“By now you are aware that members of the National Football League Players Association renounced the NFLPA’s status as the collective bargaining agent for NFL Players,” says the memo to agents, a copy of which we have obtained. “Going forward, the NFLPA will instead be operating as a professional association committed to promoting, protecting and enhancing the careers of professional football players – past, present and future.
“By becoming a professional association, the NFLPA has changed its relationship with agents who represent NFL players. Since the NFLPA no longer is the collective bargaining representative of NFL players for wages, hours and working conditions, it is no longer a requirement that Contract Advisors be certified by the NFLPA in order to represent players in individual contract negotiations with NFL clubs. In other words, the NFLPA is discontinuing its agent regulation system.”
In other words, anyone can be an agent. And any agent can do whatever he or she wants without any repercussions from the NFLPA. And any agents suspended or terminated by the NFLPA are now free to return to the business.
And agents can try to pilfer each other clients (subject to civil or criminal laws of the states in which they operate). Also, the so-called “junior rule” is no more, which means that agents can contact players less than three years out of high school.
The development is part of the NFLPA’s decision to go out of business. Indeed, even the union websites are shut down, presumably for retooling to reflect the union’s new status.