Sports Agents Sports Law

99 Problems…Is The NFLPA One?

Jeffrey Standen, also known as The Sports Law Professor, strongly believes that the cause of NFLPA agent problems (he gives examples of Carl Poston and Tank Blank) stems from the players association itself. As always, I encourage you to check out the article in its entirety, but if you are too lazy or crunched for time, here is a quick recap of Standen’s main points on why the NFLPA should implement changes and act more like the MLBPA when it comes to the regulations of player agents:

  1. Agents are limited in what they can charge clients for services rendered (3% tops).
  2. The certification process is intense compared to other professional leagues.
  3. The cap of 3% may lead the best agents toward representation in other sports.
  4. “Players can’t pay for the best even if they want to.”
  5. Agents must spread themselves thin (taking a big client list) in order to make a living.
  6. The fixed maximum fee makes it hard for players to determine quality of an agent.

And here is Standen’s final point in its entirety:

But to the free market the NFLPA will not turn. Instead, in the wake of recent scandals and Congressional oversight, the football union will likely adopt more certification and continuing education requirements and more limits on the ability of players to contract freely with agents. Further regulation will only create additional costs to entry, exacerbating the NFLPA’s problem. The NFLPA should try to draw the best agents to professional football, not push them away.

This is a very interesting take, and a viewpoint that is rarely put forth in the world of sports. In fact, most of the discussion about player association reform concerns changing the MLBPA to look more like the NFLPA. Instead, maybe the MLBPA is doing the right thing by allowing a “free market” for players and agents.

Which players association do you feel is doing a better job taking care of its registered agents and watching over their moves?

-Darren Heitner

p.s. – talking about NFLPA violations…I just spoke on the Adam Taxin radio show about the Reggie Bush scandal.  I will post it up once I get the mp3 and transcript.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.