• Comment

College athletes weigh pros, cons of ending school careers early to enter the NFL draft

Once a contract is signed, any eligibility left in the NCAA is gone.

Posted: May 3, 2014 - 10:12pm  |  Updated: May 4, 2014 - 12:18am
Get your A-J Media Digital Subscription now!

Kliff Kingsbury’s agent, Texas Tech alum Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group of Houston, also represents Johnny Manziel and Jace Amaro for this year’s NFL Draft.

But before that could happen, Manziel, a redshirt sophomore, and junior Amaro had to make sure they wanted to go pro.

Once a contract is signed, any eligibility left in the NCAA is gone.

If an athlete is expected to go in the first two rounds, it’s hard to pass that paycheck up and risk getting injured the following season.

As the bowl season begins and the NFL playoffs begin, blogs and different NFL insiders begin to predict who will enter the next draft and how high he will go.

Those remarks can help a student-athlete decide whether to stay or go, and the NCAA helps with this conundrum as well.

Texas Tech is required by the state of Texas to hold agent week. Registered agents can come up and meet with the student athletes. Tech does not pair them. This happens in April.

Further, if an underclassman is seriously considering entering the draft, he can request a confidential draft evaluation from the NFL without jeopardizing his eligibility.

Those who are at least three years out of high school may receive a limited assessment of their potential to be drafted in the first three rounds. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft this year was January 15.

Those who enter early are required to sign and have notarized a petition for special eligibility with the NFL, which renounces all remaining collegiate eligibility unless revoked within 72 hours of the draft declaration date.

In September, the NCAA discovered that less than two in 100, or 1.6 percent of NCAA senior football players will get drafted by an NFL team.

WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ATHLETES SIGNING WITH AGENTS

krista.pirtle@lubbockonline.com

• 766-8735

Follow Krista on Twitter

@AJ_KristaPirtle

■ NCAA rules don’t prohibit agents from having contact with student-athletes, their families and friends. But the rules clearly state that no agreement, oral and/or written, may be in place between an agent and a student-athlete (or their family and friends), nor may a student-athlete accept benefits from an agent until his eligibility has expired.

■ Once the college football regular season ends and teams have down time prior to their bowl games, players along with their coaches and families begin to decide on an agent.

■ There are approximately 800 agents currently certified by the NFL Players Association to represent 1,800 NFL players.

■ Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA) requires an agent to register with a state authority, usually the Secretary of State, to be licensed in that state. During the registration process, an athlete agent must provide important background information, both professional and criminal in nature.

■ The student-athlete can also contact the NFLPA to request information and or background on any agent.

■ It also helps to speak with both an existing and a former client of a potential agent.

■ Usual ways into a student-athlete’s selection process are relationships with a school’s coach, players that the student-athlete knows, players from the same school or hometown as the student-athlete and being well-known in the industry.

■ It’s better not to have an agent manage your finances, too. Vince Young’s agent did and Young accused his agent of defrauding him into a $1.8 million loan in Young’s name.

■ Require promises regarding pre-draft training expenses to be put in writing. Players can fall victim into buying into promises agents can’t keep. If the agent doesn’t live up to the agreement, a legal case can be built.

■ Make sure the agent is available for you always, meeting and exceeding your needs.

■ There is no deadline to sign with an agent, as long as it is after the expiration of the student-athlete’s eligibility which is usually after a bowl game.

■ You sign a Standard Representation Agreement (SRA).

■ As of 1999, the NFLPA permits agents to charge a commission of only 3% of the player’s salary.

  • Comment