The United Football League’s $150,000 Transfer Fee
I have no idea if the United Football League (UFL) is doing well with its attendance or TV ratings, and I sure hope that the league does not lose another $30 million as it did last year. What I do know is that many agents persuade their fringe NFL clients to sign contracts with the UFL, because of the hope that it will lead to increased exposure on a high level of play, and perhaps a future NFL contract.
While agents might be in an uproar regarding the UFL demanding that NFL teams interested in signing UFL players to their active rosters after the season pay a $150,000 transfer fee, the only people with a right to be upset are the players who might not get signed because of the large fee. And who should they get upset at? Their agents, if they never explained the $150,000 buyout prior to signing a UFL player contract.
Section 3 titled, EXCLUSIVITY/RELEASE, lays out the transfer fee in subparagraph (b)(iv). It states the following:
Player acknowledges and agrees that he may only receive a Release pursuant to this subparagraph (b), upon payment of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) (the “Release Fee”), to be paid to Management by Player, the NFL, and NFL Club or any combination thereof. Such Release Fee may be reduced or waived at the sole and absolute discretion of the Commissioner.
The UFL could certainly decide to waive the fee, as it did last year, but that does not change the fact that this fee exists for everyone to notice prior to signing a contract with the UFL. As any lawyer will say, “there is no such thing as a mistake of law defense.” The same can be said about this fee. There is no applicable defense of, “But I did not know or was never told that there is a $150,000 transfer fee!” There could potentially be a legal malpractice claim against an attorney-agent who did not properly divulge such important information to his clients prior to having them sign a UFL player contract.