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Volume 21 No. 48
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NFL agents anxiously await test results

NFL agents were waiting last week for the results of an NFL Players Association test they took earlier this month to determine whether they would be able to keep their certification to represent players in contract negotiations with clubs.

Agents took the mandatory test between June 1 and June 12. As of midweek last week, they did not know if they had passed or not. If they failed the test, which consisted of 25 multiple-choice questions, they will be required to take another test with the prospective agents in July. If they fail that one, they could lose their certification to represent players.

An NFLPA spokesman would not say last week how many agents took the test, saying some tests were still being processed, or how many of the 25 questions the agents would have to answer correctly in order to pass.

Agents said they have not been told what the pass-fail rate is, and there’s a rumor in the agent community that the test was being graded on a curve. Asked about that, the NFLPA spokesman in an email said, “We work with an outside testing service to determine this.”

Agents will be told whether or not they passed the test “once all are completed and processed,” the spokesman said. He said there were no problems in distributing the test or receiving the answers.

Agents took the test on their computers and received an electronic receipt that their tests were received, according to several agents interviewed last week. “It’s been a week,” one agent said, adding that he did not understand why he had not received a notice of whether or not he had passed a test that was completed electronically.

The questions were related to the collective-bargaining agreement, as well as side letters to the CBA, and agents were provided those materials as well as information relating to 2018 free agency and salary cap terms, 2018 split contract and injury settlements, and parts of the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan, among other things.

Some agents said the test was “easy,” but several said some of the questions were tricky because of the way they were worded or because the answers varied somewhat in the different source material.

“There were a couple of tricky questions that I’m not sure if their goal was to trick us, or whoever wrote them didn’t supply the right multiple-choice answers,” said Harold Lewis, who has been an NFLPA-certified agent since 1984 and represents more than 30 players.

But Lewis said the answers to the vast majority of the questions were something that most agents should know or have little difficulty in figuring out.

“I would have to guess most agents, without even opening up the CBA book, should at least get 20 of the 25 questions correct,” Lewis said. “There were a handful of questions that you did have to go back to the CBA just to confirm or educate yourself, but the answers were right there in front of you.”

Five agents interviewed said they had no problem in taking the test and said agents should be familiar with the information, but they all had a problem with the potential punitive nature of the test.

“It is extremely important that every agent that has the fiduciary and moral responsibility of taking care of their players should be as best prepared as possible for any and all questions or situations that could arise,” Lewis said. “However, calling it a ‘test’ with a pass-or-fail consequence, I believe, is extremely insulting to many of these agents that have not only passed the bar exam in multiple states, but have passed the full day of testing that’s required to become certified in the first place.”