The following article is provided by Ryan Earls, CEO of Cover3 Representation LLC, a full service NFL representation firm located in Gainesville, FL. You can follow Ryan on Twitter at @AskAnNFLAgent.
I went to Indianapolis with several goals: listen to Josh Luchs, network with NFL teams/other agents, and to try and stay awake during NFLPA Agent seminar. I got into Indianapolis just in time to attend Neil Stratton’s Inside The League Event where he had 2 guest speakers scheduled.
First of all, kudos to Neil Stratton, as he put on a very well organized event. Neil is a professional and great resource in the business and I recommend any aspiring or newly approved agent to subscribe to his service at InsideTheLeague.com, where he provides many services such as compiling lists of what players have signed with what agent and posts rumors/rumbles amongst the agent community so others may benefit with that info. The reason I bring this up is Neil is very well connected in the agent community and to others around the league, as his company name implies. The event started as Neil was introducing agents to one another. It was good to put faces with names of other agents who have helped me and vice versa.
The first guest speaker was Deborah Dubree with Clear Edge LLC, who presented her company’s benefits regarding sports psychology. It was informative and I can see the benefit for some athletes who need a mental sharpening, such as breathing techniques and confidence exercises, in preparation for the most important job interviews of their life.
Clearly, the suspense was building in the room for the well dressed Josh Luchs. No pitchforks were in view, so Luchs took the stage after Neil introduced him. Josh started out by brazenly declaring he didn’t care what other agents thought then and he doesn’t care what agents think now. He declared he was going to explain his side of the story, explain the dirty side of the business and tell us how he thinks change needs to get started in the agent industry. He also declared he only paid players in the first 10 years of being an agent.
Josh tackled several topics including how he got in touch with players (“I used to look for the fat chick on campus, they always know how to get in touch with athletes. Now it’s Facebook and Twitter”), what defines a “runner” (hint: everyone who knows the player is a runner), and gave examples of how the NFL agent financial and governing model is broken. Josh provided a few examples of agents breaking rules and how these misdeeds were taken to the proper authorities and little was done. He also gave examples, which will be in his upcoming book I presume, where agents out-right lie and use false data to make their agency look like they “move clients up draft boards”. You will need to buy a copy of the book to get specifics. He thinks going forward any problems agents see where other agents are breaking rules, they should be taken to the media as the NCAA has no jurisdiction or power, half the UAAA states have never brought up an agent on charges of breaking the rules, and the NFLPA has proven itself to be inept, or at least unjustly caters to the “big name” agents.
Josh came off as unapologetic for his transgressions, but did seem truly interested in helping becoming an agent of change, although it is unclear how his role may take shape over the next few years. Some agents have taken exception to this and question if he truly wants change; they say he should donate a portion of proceeds of the book to a cause. I know I will be picking up a copy. I think Josh does want to help change. Apparently right after his presentation Friday in Indianapolis, he ran into NFLPA Executive Director De Smith and the two exchanged words about enforcement of rules against agents.
The event was great and after experiencing the NFLPA seminar required for agents, I wished they canned their presentation (one Power Point slide declared the NFLPA won the fight against 18 games in new CBA. Really?! who doesn’t know that already?) where almost nothing new was presented (to those who keep close ties on everything going on), except for the change in format of the Super Regional Combine and instead went with a presentaion similar to what Neil put on. I think more would have been discussed amongst agents and more things learned. I will be buying a copy of Josh Luchs’s book, Illegal Procedure and hope to see what other information I can withdraw and learn from.