Reporting from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, ESPN’s Joe Schad, wrote that DeMaurice Smith (Executive Director of the NFLPA) is considering new rules that would (1) only permit NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors to communicate with prospective clients, and (2) scrap the Junior Rule.
The first change would be implemented in an effort to minimize the impact of “runners,” who are non-NFLPA certified third parties that are typically not employed by sports agencies, but recruit athletes for the purpose of directing them to certain agents. Many believe that runners are largely responsible for the gross amount of impermissible benefits provided to student-athletes while they are eligible to participate in collegiate sports.
The second change would do away with a rule (the Junior Rule) that has been ridiculed and ignored since first implemented. The Junior Rule effectively attempts to restrict NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors from communicating with prospective clients until those clients have either completed their true junior season or redshirt sophomore season.
Schad received some great quotes from the always affable Ralph Cindrich, who reflected on both potential rule changes. Commenting on the Junior Rule, Cindrich stated,
“The ‘junior rule’ is idiotic and unfair to reputable agents. Athletes need advice and assistance. Agents who break the rules are going to break the rules anyway.”
And with regards to runners, Cindrich added,
“If you are an agent you have to be in control of your office. If you employ runners what you really have are dirty partners.”