FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Preparing for the Draft
1. Where can my son receive counseling on his future professional athletics career?
A student-athlete can contact the institution's athletics director to learn if his school sponsors a professional sports counseling panel. An authorized professional sports counseling panel is permitted to advise a student-athlete about a future professional career, provide direction on securing disability insurance, review a proposed contract, meet with the student athlete and representatives of professional teams, communicate directly with representatives of a professional team to assist in securing a tryout with that team, assist in selecting an agent by participating with the student-athlete in interviews of agents and by reviewing information provided by agents, and visit with agents or representatives of professional athletics teams to assist the student-athlete in determining his market value.
2. Can an institution provide educational sessions on agents, professional teams, the draft, etc.?
Yes. A professional sports counseling panel can be a resource provided by the institution to help educate student-athletes interested in a professional sports career.
3. Can my son request that a professional athletics organization send him information concerning his professional market value?
Yes. An individual may request information about professional market value without affecting his amateur status.
4. Can my son seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract?
A student athlete can seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract if that attorney or third party does NOT represent the student-athlete in negotiations for that contract. It is not permissible for an attorney or third party to be present during discussions of a contract with a professional team, and the attorney or third party may not have contact with a professional sports organization on his behalf. It is considered representation if an attorney or third party are present during such discussions.
5. What is the NFL's draft eligibility rule?
The NFL and NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a player may only apply for eligibility in the NFL draft three years after his graduation from high school or graduation of the class with which he entered high school, whichever is earlier. If a player chooses to enter the draft after only three NFL regular seasons have begun and ended following his high school graduation or graduation of the class with which he entered, he must apply for early eligibility, i.e. "opt in."
6. Is my son allowed to enter the draft early?
YES! He may enter the NFL draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing his eligibility; provided he is not drafted by any team and he declares his intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the NFL's draft declaration date. This declaration of intent must be in writing to the Director of athletics (Mike Thomas). Players that enter the NFL draft early are required to sign, and have notarized, a petition for special eligibility with the NFL, which renounces all remaining collegiate eligibility unless revokes within 72 hours of the draft declaration date. [NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124.3]
7. Is being drafted the only way to play in the NFL?
No. As a general rule of thumb, an individual can petition the NFL to declare for the draft three years after his high school graduation date. Four years after high school graduation, an individual is immediately eligible for the draft. If an individual is not drafted, then he is considered a free agent immediately following the primary draft of his draft year. Please note this may vary depending on specific circumstances, so contact the NFL for more details.
8. May my son request information from the NFL about his potential draft status without jeopardizing his eligibility?
YES! He may personally request information from the NFL about his potential draft status without jeopardizing his eligibility. The NFL has a College Advisory Committee, which is comprised of 12 general managers/personnel directors of NFL clubs and the directors of the NFL's two scouting combines. Under this program, student-athletes that are at least three years out of high school may receive a general assessment of their draft potential. The committee will provide the player its best estimate of the highest round in which he has the potential to be drafted. The committee's evaluation is non-binding and does not guarantee or assure a specific round, but it does provide an underclassman with an unbiased opinion of where they may stand in the draft. The College Advisory Committee is a method where knowledgeable people, with no financial interest in the matter, can give a student-athlete an informed assessment of his draft chances. A representative of the commissioner's staff will respond to the involved player, and the NFL and the payer are to keep the evaluation confidential.
9. What is the NFL Combine?
Each February, professional scouts from the NFL select senior athletes to participate in the combines. The athletes are tested in a series of drills including timed runs, strength and conditioning and position drills, and are given thorough physical and mental examinations.
10. Is my son allowed to participate in the NFL Combine in February and maintain his eligibility?
NO! The NFL Combine occurs from February 18 to 24, which is after the deadline for withdrawing from the NFL draft. Only players who have committed to entering into the NFL draft are allowed to participate in the NFL Combine.
11. Does my son have to attend the NFL Combine in order to be drafted?
No. many star players in the league are not at the Combine yet they still were drafted, sometimes in the upper rounds.
12. Can his coach or anybody else market his athletic ability to a professional sports organization?
A coach or other individual may not, directly or indirectly, market a prospective or enrolled student-athlete's athletic ability or reputation to a professional sports team or organization.
13. Can he participate in private workouts/tryouts with NFL teams if school is still in session?
YES! He may tryout with an NFL team (or participate in a combine including that team) during the academic year if he is enrolled full-time as long as he doesn't miss class. He may also tryout with an NFL team during the summer provided that the tryout does not exceed 48 hours and he has not received more than actual and necessary expenses from the team [NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199].
14. Can he participate in on-campus "pro days" for NFL teams if school is still in session?
YES! Participation in on-campus pro days for NFL teams is considered participation in a tryout for an NFL team. If you are enrolled as a full-time student at the institution he may participate in these workouts provided that he doesn't miss any class time.
15. Is he allowed to receive a medical examination from the NFL scouting bureau if school is still in session?
YES! A single scouting bureau recognized by the NFL is permitted to conduct one medical examination during the academic year without jeopardizing the student-athlete's eligibility, provided that examination does not occur off campus.
16. Can NFL teams pay for his private workouts/tryouts?
YES! He may receive actual and necessary expenses from the NFL team in conjunction with one 48-hour tryout per team (or combine including that team). The 48-hour tryout period begins when he arrives at the tryout location. At the completion of the 48-hour period he must depart the location of the tryout immediately in order to receive transportation expenses.
17. Can he pay for his own private workouts/tryouts with NFL teams?
YES! A tryout may extend beyond 48 hours if the individual self-finances additional expenses, including return transportation. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time, provided he doesn't miss class.
18. Can any other individual (e.g. agent, runner, or "advisor") pay for his private workouts/tryouts with NFL teams?
NO! Unless an NFL team pays for his expenses in conjunction with a private workout or tryout, he and his family are responsible for paying all expenses associated with any tryouts as they are incurred.
19. Where can he get information on the 2009 NFL draft?
Visit one of the following for information on the 2009 NFL draft:
National Football League
National Football League Players Association
Agents and Amateurism
1. What is an "agent" according to NCAA rules?
An individual would be considered an "agent" if the individual market's your son's football skills to any NFL team or other professional teams (e.g. contact NFL teams to discuss his skills, set up tryouts with NFL teams).
2. Is my son allowed to have any type of agreement with an agent?
NO! He is not permitted to have a written or oral agreement with an agent, or anyone who is employed by or acting on behalf of an agent or sports agency (i.e. "runner"). [NCAA Bylaw 12.3.1]
3. What is an "oral agreement" with an agent?
An oral agreement occurs if your son verbally agrees to have an agent perform any services (e.g. providing any expenses related to tryouts, arranging disability insurance, etc.) on his behalf OR he has knowledge that an agent is performing such services.
4. Is an agent allowed to contact teams on his behalf to arrange private workouts or tryouts?
NO! He cannot have an agent arrange a private workout/tryout with an NFL team.
5. Can his family members or other individuals who are associated with him as a result of playing football (e.g. high school coach, summer football coach, etc.) have an agreement with him to perform services on his behalf?
NO! Family members and other individuals are not permitted to enter into any agreement with an agent on his behalf.
6. Is he allowed to have an agreement with an agent if it is for future representation?
NO! He is not permitted to agree to a future representation agreement with an agent. [NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52]
7. Is an agent allowed to provide him any benefits?
NO! He, his family or his friends are not permitted to receive any benefits from an agent. Examples of material benefits include money, transportation, dinner, clothes, cell phones, jewelry, etc. However, benefits may also include, but are not limited to, activities such as tryout arrangements with a professional team and coordinating tryout schedules.
8. Is he permitted to have an advisor during this process?
YES, provided the advisor does not market him to NFL teams. However, an advisor will be considered an agent if they contact teams on his behalf to arrange private workouts or tryouts.
9. Can an institution cancel his athletics scholarship if he has an agreement with an agent?
YES! An institution is permitted to withdraw his athletics scholarship if he has an agreement with an agent.
10. What is the National Football League Player's Association (NFLPA) rule regarding agent contact?
An NFLPA certified agent, or any representative or person affiliated with an NFLPA certified agent, including "runners"/recruiters, financial advisors and marketing representatives , is prohibited from speaking to individual prospective players or presenting to groups of prospective players who are ineligible for the NFL draft.
11. What will happen to him is an agent contacts him in violation of the NFLPA rule regarding agent contact?
Under the NFLPA rule, an agent is not allowed to contact prospective players that are ineligible for the NFL draft. However, the NCAA does not prohibit this contact, and a student-athlete would not be punished for communicating with an agent while ineligible for the draft, as long as the student-athlete, and his family and friends do not have an agreement for representation with the agent, and do not receive any benefits from that agent or any of his representatives.
12. Does he have to have an agent to enter the draft?
13. If he is interested in hiring an agent, what process does he need to go through?
University of Cincinnati's professional sports counseling panel is a valuable resource for providing guidance in screening and selecting agents, and for negotiating contract terms with a professional organization.
When making an agreement with an agent, he should have a clear understanding of the actual terms and conditions of the agreement. The agreement needs to be clearly expressed in writing - in written contract form or by retainer letter. Some of the provisions that should be included in an agent's agreement to provide services include: (1) the duration of the agreement and the renewal provisions; (2) how disputes are going to be resolved should they arise; (3) whether the agent has an exclusive right to handle all contracts or just the playing contract; (4) how the agent is to be paid (on a contingent fee or hourly basis); (5) whether the agent is to receive a percentage of bonuses, playoff money, or awards; (6) who is responsible for the agent's expenses; and (7) what procedures must be followed if the athlete wishes to terminate the relationship with the agent.
Once he has selected an agent and has been offered a contract from a professional team, he needs to consider the following factors when negotiating provisions of a player contract: length of playing contract, base salary, timing of payments, signing bonuses, reporting bonuses, performance and other bonuses, incentives, salary guarantees, trade provisions, additional injury provisions, options, special benefits, and personal-conduct provisions.
It is not recommended that he sign a power of attorney over to the agent, since the agent can then spend his money without his knowledge.
14. What percentage of his contract does his agent get if he signs with a professional team?
The maximum fee is 3% a year. Agent fees are negotiable. The majority range between 2% and 3% a season. Fees get paid to agents only as he earns his salary. Major expenses can only be made with his explicit consent. He must receive a yearly statement from his agent detailing all services and charges.
15. He should consider the following criteria when selecting an agent:
- Determine what services he will need from an agent and the reasonable cost for each service.
- Consider an agent's educational background, training and work experience. Verify the credentials of any agent.
- Determine the agent's reputation. Check with the players associations, other players, clients, and former clients.
- Look for an agent who will devote time to his interests.
- Involve his family in the decision-making process, and make sure he feels comfortable and can trust the agent.
- Determine if the agent is informed. An Agent must be familiar with the constitution and bylaws of the particular professional league they are dealing with, as well as the standard players contract.
16. Does he have to have an agent to sign a contract?
No. There are several professional athletes who have chosen not to hire an agent; rather, these professional athletes have hired attorneys who are paid at an hourly rate.
Insurance and Financial Advice
1. What is disability insurance?
Disability insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection against the loss of future earnings as a professional athlete due to a disabling injury. There are two types of disability insurance: (1) permanent total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term; and he will not be able tp participate ever again (unless the policy specifies a shorter period of time) ion his sport; and (2) temporary total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term and he is not able to participate in his sport at the time of the designated medical evaluation.
2. Can my son obtain disability insurance while in college?
Individuals who qualify for disability insurance are those who realistically anticipate receiving a substantial amount of money as professional athletes due to their present market value as future professionals.
3. Who does he talk to about disability insurance?
He should contact UC's professional sports counseling panel, athletics director or the NCAA for information on disability insurance. There are only a few companies that provide this type of insurance for athletes; however, there are numerous insurance brokers/agents who can sell the disability coverage. The NCAA also sponsors a disability insurance program for elite student-athletes in specific sports. For more information on NCAA disability insurance visit the following: http://www.ncaa.org/membership/insurance/index.html
4. What is a financial advisor?
A financial advisor is an expert in the field of finance, taxes, investments and law.
5. Should he hire a financial advisor if he decides to pursue a professional sports career?
It is his decision whether or not he hires a financial advisor; however, be cautious when doing so. If he decides to hire a financial advisor or sports agent, consider the following:
- All agreements between he and the advisor/agent should be in writing, but before signing an agreement, have an independent attorney review it to make sure it says what it is supposed to say.
- Make sure the advisor/agent documents and explains his/her financial management and investment philosophies and strategies.
- Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to an independent audit of his financial dealings.
- Require the advisor to provide regular and written status reports on your son's finances.
- Require the advisor/agent to provide proof of coverage for fidelity insurance or bonding to protect him in the event of theft by the advisor/agent.
- Do not grant the advisor/agent power of attorney to act on his behalf.
- Make it a contractual obligation of the advisor/agent to promptly inform him in writing of any potential or actual conflicts of interest as his representative.
- Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to provide your son full access to any financial records in his/her custody.
- Make sure that the advisor/agent is available at all times and is committed to your son's best interest.
6. What can his financial advisor do for him?
A financial advisor is an expert who can provide him with guidance in the areas of finance, taxes, investments and law.
1. What is the National Football League Players Association?
The NFLPA helps players find legitimate an registered agents and financial planners, negotiate contracts and salary, obtain benefits, file grievances, get involved in licensing and marketing programs, and gain access to membership programs. In addition, the NFLPA negotiates on behalf of the players to protect their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
2. How do I contact a specific team to get additional information?
Contact the following organizations for information on a specific team:
National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
National Football League Players Association
2021 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
February 18-24: NFL Combine in Indianapolis
April 26 and 27, 2008: NFL Draft in New York City, NY
FIVE POINTS TO REMEMBER
Your son will lose his eligibility IF:
1. He agrees orally or in writing to be represented by an agent or any individual acting on behalf of the agent [e.g. runner].
2. He accepts any benefits from an agent, a prospective agent or any individual acting on behalf of the agent [e.g. runner].
3. He participates in a tryout with an NFL team that lasts longer than 48 hours, which he has not personally financed.
4. He tries out with a professional team during the academic year and misses class.
5. He enters the draft AND does not take the appropriate steps to withdraw and declare his intention to resume intercollegiate athletic participation.
QUESTIONS TO ASK PROSPECTIVE AGENTS
Note: When you use this questionnaire to interview agents other than at agent day functions, the first question you should ask is "Where are you registered?"
1. Where and when did you graduate from law school?
2. If you are not a lawyer, what are your educational credentials?
3. Have you ever been disbarred, suspended, reprimanded, censured or otherwise disciplined or disqualified as an attorney or as a member of any other profession?
4. Are there currently any complaints or charges pending against you regarding your conduct as an attorney or as a member of any other profession?
5. Have you ever been implicated or investigated for any violations of NCAA or professional league rules?
6. Are you an NFLPA certified contract advisor?
7. Did you take the NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement Test? What was your score? If you did not take the test, why not?
8. Do you have ownership interests in your company? (Are you a firm or agency partner or strictly an employee?)
9. Can you supply me with a list of current and former clients?
10. What services do you offer to your clients other than contract negotiations (financial planning, tax advice, etc.)? Do you mind if I use my own accountant or financial planner?
11. Who will be negotiating my contract?
12. How many clients have you lost, what was the reason for their departure? Can you provide me with a list of their phone numbers?
13. Who do you consider to be your top clients?
14. What have you done to advance the careers of your clients on and off the field?
15. Do you provide an annual statement to your clients? May I see an example?
16. How do you keep your clients informed of charges?
17. What is your fee structure? Are your fees negotiable?
18. How and when are you to be paid?
19. What is the duration of the agreement?
20. What are the procedures for terminating the agreement?
21. What happens to our agreement if I fail to make the team; if I am waived; or if I get injured?
22. If I am likely to be a free agent, how can you help maximize my chances of making a team?
23. Do you have any connections with NFL Europe, the CFL, or the Arena Football League?
24. Have you ever had a dispute with a client and if so, how was it resolved?
AMATEURISM LEGISLATION: POSTENROLLMENT
Note: The following summary information is subject to change. The NCAA or UC Compliance staff should be consulted regarding the application of NCAA legislation.
Competition with Professionals: An individual shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics if the individual ever competed on a professorial team, regardless of whether the individual knew (or had reason to know) that the team was a professional team (Effective date: august 1, 2002). [NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206]
Draft: A football student-athlete may enter the National Football League draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is nto drafted by any team in that league and the student-athlete declares his intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the National Football Draft declaration date. The student athlete's declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution's Director of Athletics. [NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11.3]
Agent: An individual is not permitted to retain an agent or receive any benefits from an agent. [NCAA Bylaw 12.3]
Tryout: An individual with eligibility remaining may try out with a professional athletics team (or participate in a combine including that team) at any time, provided the individual does not miss class. The individual may receive actual and necessary expenses in conjunction with one 48-hour tryout per professional team (or a combine including that team). The 48-hour tryout period shall begin at the time the individual arrives at the tryout location. At the completion of the 48-hour period the individual must depart the location of the tryout immediately in order to receive return transportation expenses. A tryout may extend beyond 48 hours if the individual self-finances additional expenses, including return transportation. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time, provided the individual does not miss class. [NCAA Bylaw 18.104.22.168]
Contract: An individual is not permitted to sign a contract with a professional team. [NCAA Bylaw 12.3]
Salary: An individual is not permitted to accept any direct or indirect salary, gratuity or comparable compensation. [NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124.1]