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Football Agents Might Be Grandfathered Into New NFLPA

I do not buy into the notion that the football agent profession is going to go from “dirty to sewage” based on the decertification of the NFLPA.  However, there is no denying that anyone can hold himself out as a football agent now, since there is no longer a body in charge of licensing sports agents who wish to negotiate NFL contracts.  There are two caveats to that statement: 1) As of right now there are no NFL contracts to negotiate, and 2) If someone wants to recruit student-athlete football players, he still must be licensed in the states he wishes to recruit.

But what if the NFL Draft remains in place, and what if contracts with teams are actually negotiated?  What will happen to agents who were not previously certified by the NFLPA, but represented players in their contractual negotiations?  If history is a good indicator, those agents will likely be grandfathered in as NFLPA Contract Advisors with the return of the NFLPA.

When the NFLPA last decertified in 1987, Josh Luchs was not yet an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor.  By the time the NFLPA reconstituted itself as a labor union, Luchs had clients under his belt, and was given the option to become certified, which he accepted.  Luchs paid $300 to the union, signed his name on a document, and became a licensed agent with the NFLPA.  It is likely that the NFLPA will offer the same option, at a much higher price tag, to any agents who are able to secure NFL clients prior to the reconstitution of the NFLPA as a labor union.

Luchs had his NFLPA certification revoked in October 2010 and does not plan on recruiting any football clients while the NFLPA, as a union, ceases to exist.

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.

4 replies on “Football Agents Might Be Grandfathered Into New NFLPA”

what makes you think a team would negotiate, let alone sign a contract with a drafted player before a new CBA is done?

Depending on results of lawsuits, 2011 season could technically occur based on the last CBA. In that circumstance, players will need to be signed. NFLPA may not be back as a union by that point in time.

OK. Didn’t realize that you were operating under the hypothetical situation that the players had already prevailed in the preliminary injunction hearing and the Court ordered football to continue under working conditions that permitted a draft and enabled teams to utilize some presently unknown system to sign those drafted players.

what is the state of this as of today. could an agent who was qualified to become an agent in 2011, but did not because of the lockout, be grandfathered in if they had a client who was eligible and would have entered the draft in 2011?

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