Saturday, August 6, 2011

YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH…

 

Me: What's up _____.  How's it been going? Haven't spoke to you in a while.

Player: Yeah Man, sorry been busy as hell with camp, and stuff. Plus coach told us he didn't want us talking to agents, and just focus on football. I still want some info about you though.

Me: Bet. No problem. I'll send it right out to you.

Player: Cool. But send it to the football office; coach wants all info to come there.

Me: No problem, I'm sending it out tomorrow morning, talk to you soon.

 

About a week went by. I haven't heard from the player if he received my packet of information. Not wanting to bother him and respect the coach's wishes, I sent him a text asking if he had indeed received the packet of information that I had worked so hard to put together.

He replied, "No. And I've been waiting for it. I thought you just said forget it and didn't wanna mess with me anymore.

I explained it was sent out, I was still interested, and I would send another one out again. This time, I was a little smarter. I put delivery confirmation on the packet. And sure enough 2 days later it was delivered and signed for.

I waited about another week. After not hearing from him, I decided to not bother him, but give him a little more time. But something interesting happened. I received a call from the player's mother. She said her son said was very interested in me and was waiting on some information. I explained to her that I had sent out two packets already and that I would find out what was going on.

I called the football office and a nice young lady answered the phone. I explained to her that I had sent two packages to the office, and she was actually the one who signed for the parcel. She explained to me that all material was handed to the coach, not the player, and the coach would distribute it to the player.  No problem, I thanked her for her time, and hung up. Next, I sent a text to the player explaining the situation. He responded "cool, I'll get it from coach today".

---Phone Rings--- Me: Hello

Player: Mannnnnnnnnnnn, let me tell you what coach said to me. He said yeah I may have got some things in the mail, but you don't need to be bothered with all that, just focus on football. Besides, I already have a guy for you, I've been knowing him for a while, and I think you should go with him."

Me: hahahahahahaha… that's what's up…

 

All I could do was laugh really. I mean what else could I do. Luckily this guy was able to see through what his coach was trying to do. And I would say that incident has brought us a little closer together, even though he still hasn't seen a packet. While some of you may read that little back and forth and might "gasp" a little bit. In my line of business, it not only happens, but in some schools, it's expected. There are plenty of situations that happen all the time where coaches, football administration, so called outside consultants, and even people within the compliance office try to push kids towards certain agents. Personally, If at all possible, I do not like dealing with anyone in those offices when it comes down to the player making a decision. If they care that much, ask them if they are going to be available at 2:00 a.m. when you call wanted to vent about training camp, if you have questions about your contract, where to live, what car to buy, or just to talk. If they are going to be available as a back up in the case your agent isn't, then by all means they are more than welcome to sit in on the interview. But if you don't have a relationship with your agent, you are more likely to fail. Some guys don't want or don't need a personal relationship, some do, it's up to THE PLAYER to decide. Below are a couple more examples that some of my colleagues have shared with me.

 

Case 2: A junior decides to leave school early, and decides to sign with an agent that he knows, and trusts, and represents one of his close friends. He's seen the job the agent did first hand, so he felt comfortable with the situation, and so did his family. Well the coaches didn't, they called the kid to the office (after he had already signed) for a meeting. In the office was another agent. The coaching staff tried to plead with the kid to fire his agent and go with the new one, the one they trusted. The kid asked to think about it just to get out of there. And they called him continuously over the next few weeks. How many rules were violated in this situation? He stayed with his original agent by the way.

 

Case 3: A player at a small non-division 1 school has a decent shot at being drafted this year. He is aware and even though some agents have hit him up, it hasn't been overwhelming. After a couple of phone calls, the player tells the agent, my AD doesn't want me talking to anyone because it could jeopardize my eligibility. Not to talk bad about the AD, but that is simply not true. No rules are being broken here but just to make you feel better,  the AD was contacted personally. Well let's just say it was easy to see how the player was misinformed because the AD was clueless. I don't know if this is the first player he's ever dealt with that had a shot, but his response was, "It is against NCAA rules for a player to talk to any agent until after he graduates". After the AD was educated on the actual rules, he still refused to believe them, and said well I am going to have to check with someone. I have no comment to this one.

 

Case 4: A newer agent recruits players at a major Division 1 Program. He has success in signing a couple of players. One player, who he thought he was going to sign, abruptly changed his mind. When the agent called and asked the player why, he was told, "The people in the compliance office told me not  to sign with agent x, because agent x was a convicted criminal". Now, a reason of he's new, or he's just not a good agent in my opinion would have been acceptable. But to tell a bold face lie like that kind of was a shock. But it is what it is. That school had 7 NFL contracts done that year. The office provided assistance to 5 of those guys, with the newer agent signing 2 of them. A couple of years later, that newer agent still has his two clients, and neither of the 5 other guys are with their original agent.

 

Case 5: An agent I know was talking to a potential first round pick that had narrowed his choices down to 3 agents was advised by the school to ask the agents to come down and present their case to the coach and a board or something like a committee. On the eve of the meetings, another agent, (who happened to be the agent of the coach), showed up at the players house and presented a united "best case scenario for the player". The player had never talked to the agent before, only heard of him. The coach told him this agent was by far the best and he should do the responsible thing and call the other two agents and tell them not to come because he didn't want them to waste their money because he had made a decision. The next words out of the coach's mouth were "Trust Me". The player did as his coach advised, and called my friend and told him the news. Needless to say my friend was a little upset and tried to talk the player into giving him a chance, but the player had already signed.

 

There are numerous of occasions where an agent can tell you about a situation when they lost a player because of a coach, or someone in the football office. And the truth of the matter is, agents rarely get mad anymore because it happens so frequently. The bad thing about this is that the agents, who are chosen by anyone else but the player, rarely are a good fit for the player. Think about it, you are putting your livelihood in the hands of someone that doesn't really know who you are as a person, yet you expect them to know and understand your needs. It's just not a recipe for success. As a matter of fact, most if the things compliance does is setting the player up for failure. YEAH I SAID IT… These young men are just that, MEN. When I graduated from college they said, congrats you're a man now. Yet we treat the players like children because they play football, and make all the excuses in the world on why they need help in choosing an agent. Do the schools put the same effort in helping the Law student choose which firm to work for? Which accounting firm is the best fit for the recent grad? You're old enough to drink, drive, and handle a million dollars, you're old enough to listen to agents and decide for yourself. Overseeing the player's actions to insure they do not violate rules and get themselves or the University in trouble is perfectly fine. But being involved in agent selection should not be part of their duties. Let me break it down for you. Even though this may hurt my rep with some schools, I think I need to speak on it.

 

Ex. 1) Committees – So you are going to get a group of people together, have agents come in and pitch to the committee on why they should rep the player. The problem is that the agent that has the flashiest profile, most money, or most clients is usually the one that wins the approval, and may not be the best agent for the player. But do you really think the committee cares about what happens to the player after that player leaves school? And does the little guy, the small agent, ever have a legit shot in this situation? I'll let you answer that question.

 

Ex. 2) Outside Consultant – Some schools have got this grand notion in their head where they hired an outside consultant to sort through agents for their kids. Who's checking the consultant? Do you think it would be odd if let's say 60% of the top rated athletes all sign with the same agencies? Not saying it is happening, but is anyone checking this?

 

Ex. 3) The newest fad of schools now is to tell the agent when he can have contact with the athletes. When he can call, when he can text, when he can visit, etc. I guess the point is to limit contact so the player can focus on school and football. Again, we give the players no credit. If they don't want to talk to someone, they won't answer the phone. You can't make a guy answer the phone no matter how many times an agent calls. If the guy doesn't vibe with you, he won't talk to you. Again schools are treating these guys like kids, and what happens when you micro manage a kid? THEY ACT OUT. They will do it just to spite the rules, and here's a piece of advice, if an agent wants to talk to a kid, he will. Also this rule, lessens the opportunity for a kid to get to know an agent to see if they can even be a fit together. All these people sitting back and thinking of all these rules and laws to limit contact are focusing on the wrong things.

 

Ex. 4) Agent Laws… Everyone talking about changing the agent laws. One state had said that they were going to implement a 100,000 cash bond for agents… So what your saying is you only want the same 3 agents to recruit your state. I can't afford that, and not too many of the agents I know have the ability too. And they are good guys. It's already ridiculous because newer, and smaller agents already have a tough time competing in the first place. Let me break it down for you. You pay your NFLPA dues and insurance. Then let's say I want to recruit in my state and surrounding states. That would be KY, TN, OH, IN. to register in each state the total is $2000.00. So to recruit as an NFLPA certified agent, I have spent $6,000.00 already just for a chance to maybe talk to a guy to get him to sign with you. Remember we haven't signed anyone, but the state of Delaware wants me to pay $2,500.00 to talk and visit with a guy. Needless to say I've never recruited anyone from Delaware. Why can't we have a national registry? Why not pay $1000.00 to the NFLPA and that money is distributed between all the states that have registration. With all the NFL and NBA agents in the USA, I'm sure they would break even. And why I'm at it, do the state registration really deter illegal agent activity. Take North Carolina, they have had trouble as of late, and they have agents registration laws. Yet the state of Virginia, which has it's own claim of NFL talent year in and year out has no agent registration laws. And the athletes at these schools seem to be doing fine. And don't tell me Virginia Tech and UVA doesn't have just as many NFL caliber players as North Carolina.

 

Oh well, I have plenty more that I can talk about but this blog post is long enough. I have to save something for next time… lol

 

Until Then, Stay Classy America…