SBD/June 12, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Source: NFLPA Working On Governing Player-Agent Financial Relationships

The NFLPA has “long permitted financial arrangements -- fiscal and otherwise -- between players and agents to exist on nebulous terrain," but current rules make it "difficult to oversee what is permissible behavior,” according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSPORTS.com. There remains “far too much leeway for money to exchange hands” under these arrangements and they are all “perfectly fine until the inevitable he-said/he-said emerges over what was agreed to verbally, as players hop from one agent to another.” Yet the union “stipulates it is impermissible for a contract advisor to offer money or anything else of value to encourage players to sign with them.” In a climate that often includes “bidding wars where agents spend large sums of money to land a top player,” the current rules make “policing what is being said between these sides increasingly difficult.” The time “seems right to put much stricter limits on the types and amounts of money changing hands.” This was a “major topic of conversation” in February at the NFL Combine. Numerous agents said that NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith asked agents to “submit a proposal on how to enforce the matter.” Sources said that the agent community is “supporting the ideal that no more than $25,000 should be allowed to ever exchange hands between an agent and his client.” NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir of External Affairs George Atallah “declined to get into specifics of what changes may be coming, but confirmed the dialogue between agents and top union officials on the matter.” The proposal presented to Smith “governing financial relationships” between players and agents “includes but is not limited” to marketing guarantees, marketing advances, stipends of any kind, loans, signing bonuses or similar third party arrangements. The proposal also prohibits a contract advisor from “seeking re-imbursement through the NFLPA Arbitration process for any money spent on a client in this regard over $25,000” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/11).
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