Headline NFL Players Recruiting

NFLPA Considers Dropping Junior Rule, Removing Runners

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.”

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.