After the Reggie Bush fiasco at USC, the NFLPA dramatically changed the rules regarding agent contact with college underclassmen. The solution, of course, didn’t address the problem, since NFLPA-regulated agents weren’t responsible for the cash and/or benefits Bush received while playing for the Trojans. Marketing agents, who don’t fall within the jurisdiction of the NFLPA, were the culprits.
Since the implementation of the so-called “junior rule,” agents who follow the rules have regularly complained that agents who don’t follow the rules realize an unfair advantage, since they won’t follow the “junior rule,” either. As a result, the NFLPA has made some adjustments to the rule. According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, more could be on the way.
Per Schad, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told agents gathered for an annual meeting on Friday of the possible changes. “The ‘junior rule’ is idiotic and unfair to reputable agents,” agent Ralph Cindrich told Schad. “Athletes need advice and assistance. Agents who break the rules are going to break the rules anyway.”
Smith also said that agents soon could be prohibited from using “runners” or other third parties to recruit players. Cindrich agrees on that point, too, even though many agents use runners.
“If you are an agent you have to be in control of your office,” Cindrich said. “If you employ runners what you really have are dirty partners.”
“Dirty” has been the operative word regarding the agent business, at least as it relates to the perception of agent behavior. The rule breakers generate the negative press, making all of the agents look bad.
So kudos to the NFLPA for recognizing that changes are needed. Here’s hoping the changes get made.