Earlier in 2019 the NCAA introduced the NCAA Athlete Agent Certification. It was met with skepticism from both upcoming and aspiring agents as well as industry vets because of the requirements and the fees associated with obtaining certification. With the COVID-19 virus ending the NCAA season early and likely preventing any pre-draft workouts the pathway for college players still on the fence about declaring is even more unclear.
Unfortunately for those players there are only a small group of NCAA qualified agents for them to seek feedback on their career changing decision. There is still uncertainty on when the 2020 draft will be held and what the pre-draft process will actually look like. The NBA is currently working with the NBPA on how to handle future paychecks while large gathering events are cancelled and the NBA will have to find a way to navigate with the lost of revenue from this shortened season.
ESPN interviewed an agent that went through the NCAA-certification process and commented that “This is not a time to be adding players to your client list; it’s a time to consolidate”. With many agents feeling the same way this is further limiting options for players unsure of their draft positioning. One NBPA Player Agent who is also FIBA Certified told Sports Agent Blog that “I am focusing my search on college seniors to prevent this uncertainty, worse case scenario is spending a year overseas developing…assuming sports resume.”
Last season the NCAA passed a new rule that allowed players to hire agents that are NCAA Certified, giving them an opportunity to “test the waters” without risking their college eligibility. Out of the hundreds of NBPA Certified Agents, only 24 agents decided to pursue the NCAA certification, many of which do not currently represent an NBA Player. The NCAA rules do allow athletes to seek advice from non-NCAA-certified agents acting as advisers but do not allow those advisers to market athletes to professional teams or provide benefits of any kind.
With the uncertain landscape of how this new rule change will effect the players eligibility, there has not been any word on potential rule changes. It is possible to see many litigation issues between players that decide to return, due to improper paperwork filings or improper acceptance of benefits such as BYU forward Yoeli Childs.