SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/Labor and Agents

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  • UFL players waiting for last check from championship game

    Liz Mullen
    While NFL players are preparing for the growing likelihood that they will be locked out when the labor deal expires, some United Football League players are still waiting to be paid for that league’s championship game, which was played in late November.

    Kevin Hobbs was a defensive back on the Las Vegas Locos, who won the UFL championship Nov. 27, but he’s been told that he won’t get his check for that game until the end of this month.

    “It takes away the feeling of being the official champion because, it’s like, it really wasn’t worth it,” said Hobbs, who played for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions before taking a job in the UFL. Hobbs said he received his paycheck for the Locos’ last regular-season game, played Nov. 20, on Jan. 7 after receiving three e-mails from UFL officials telling him the check would be coming soon.

    Hobbs said it would be one thing if he had agreed to play for no pay, but “I didn’t sign up to work for free.”

    Mike Preston, the UFL’s director of communications, said in an e-mail, “I have checked with the UFL accounts department and the only remaining unpaid payments are bonus checks and they aren’t due until the end of the month.”

    Asked whether the “bonus checks” he was referring to were the game checks for the players who played in the championship game, Preston replied, “Those checks are due at the end of January.”

    Josh Zuckerberg, an attorney at employment law firm Pryor Cashman, said many state laws require that employers pay their employees at least every two weeks or on a semimonthly basis. Preston had no comment on whether the UFL’s failure to pay its employees was legal and would not say whether other employees were being paid on the same schedule.

    The UFL intends to play another season in 2011, but Hobbs wonders about it. “They’re saying there is going to be a season this year, and I am thinking, ‘How is there going to be a season when you can’t pay money due from last season?’”

    Da Quan Bowers
    GETTY IMAGES
    Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, projected as a high pick in this year’s draft, signed with BTI Sports.
    BTI SIGNS BOWERS: BTI Sports has signed Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, who some analysts project could be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.

    Agent Joe Flanagan will represent Bowers. NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter had him ranked No. 1 but fellow analyst Rob Rang had Bowers ranked No. 6 on their mock drafts on NFLDraftScout.com last week.

    FRANCE SIGNS DAREUS, AMUKAMARA: Todd France has signed Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara for representation. Dareus was ranked No. 2 and Amukamara No. 12 by NFLDraftScout.com last week.

    SPORTSTRUST SIGNS JULIO JONES: Sports-Trust Advisors, the new NFL player rep firm formed when veteran agents Jimmy Sexton and Pat Dye merged their firms, has signed former Alabama wide receiver and expected first-rounder Julio Jones for representation in the draft.

    Dye and Sexton recruited Jones and will co-represent him. Jones was ranked No. 14 by NFLDraftScout.com last week.

    Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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