SBJ/20080623/Labor & Agents

NFLPA issues letters of reprimand to 9 agents over junior rule

An NFL Players Association committee has voted to issue letters of reprimand to nine agents, including veteran agent Neil Cornrich and Major Adams — who counts Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young as a client — for allegedly violating a new regulation prohibiting agents from contacting underclassmen.

The other agents alleged to have violated the so-called junior rule are Craig Domann, Jason Fletcher, Richard Katz, Thomas Kleine, Joe Linta, Lyle Masnikoff and Howard Shatsky. Fletcher declined comment and the others could not immediately be reached for comment on whether they would appeal the letters of reprimand.

A letter of reprimand is the lowest form of discipline that can be imposed by the union’s Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline, known as CARD. Agents found to have violated regulations can also be fined, suspended or decertified.

NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen said the committee took into account agents’ comments that “there was some misunderstandings about when they could first talk to the players.” Under the rule, agents were not allowed to contact players who were less than three years removed from high school until the NFL formally declared them eligible to be drafted.

However, Berthelsen added, the letters make clear to the agents that any future violation of the rule would be dealt with severely. “The committee is making it clear to the agent community that everyone should now know the timetable for talking to juniors and next year there will be no excuses,” he said.

The junior rule has been wildly unpopular with agents, many of whom have complained that it would give an advantage to agents who violated the rule. Two contacted last week reacted negatively to the news that the committee chose letters of reprimand rather than stiffer punishment.

“No way,” said one agent on hearing the news. “It is really disappointing.”

John Danks is a new client
at CAA Sports, which is
also advising his brother.

MLBPA SUSPENDS AGENT: The MLB Players Association has suspended MLB agent Bill Rego while it conducts an investigation, MLBPA assistant general counsel Doyle Pryor confirmed.

Pryor would not comment on the reasons for the suspension or what the MLBPA was investigating, but he said that Rego agreed to the suspension and that the MLB commissioner’s office had been notified that Rego had been suspended from representing players.

Attempts to reach Rego for comment were unsuccessful. A business phone number that Rego had listed with the MLBPA was disconnected. It also is not clear how many players Rego represented at the time he was suspended. In recent years, he had counted Colorado Rockies pitcher Jose Capellan and Houston Astros closer Jose Valverde as clients, according to various news reports.

CAA SIGNS DANKS, ADVISING BROTHER: CAA Sports has signed Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks and is now advising his younger brother, University of Texas outfielder Jordan Danks, who was drafted by the Sox in the seventh round of this year’s amateur draft.

Agent Scott Boras had represented the elder Danks and was advising Jordan Danks, but those relationships ended sometime around the time of the amateur draft, according to sources and a Chicago Tribune report. CAA Sports baseball agent Jeff Berry is representing John Danks and is advising Jordan Danks.

FORE REPRESENTATION: Gaylord Sports Management has signed All-American golfer Troy Merritt for representation. Merritt won seven tournaments for Boise State University this year and finished the season with a 69.53 scoring average.

Peter Webb, a player manager at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Gaylord, will be Merritt’s primary representative.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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