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NFLPA adopts Jay-Z Rule

Union finds way to get around "runner" rule, allowing rapper/agent to help recruit players Jason Cole

Print This December 06, 2013, 05:53 PM EST

Rapper-and-agent Jay-Z had another victory of sorts Friday after negotiating one of the richest contracts in baseball history for Robinson Cano on Thursday. On Friday, the NFL Players Association ruled that meetings with uncertified business associates such as Jay-Z, who owns Roc Nation Sports, are no longer a violation of the union’s “runner” rule.

In May, NFLPA-certified agents complained loudly when Jay-Z’s company and previously little-known agent Kim Miale recruited quarterback Geno Smith as a client after Smith fired his original agents. Jay-Z had met with Smith in New York as a representative of Roc Nation even though Jay-Z is not certified as an agent.

Technically, that should have been a violation of NFLPA rules prohibiting such meetings and the union immediately said it would investigate. On Friday, more than six months after starting the investigative, the union sent out a notice saying it had adjusted the rule.

Agents can now introduce a player to a non-certified person who is part of the firm as long as the meeting happens only once and is held at the agent’s office. That is exactly how Smith met with Jay-Z in May in New York.

NFLPA executive Jack Lyons sent the notice to all agents.

“As you know, NFLPA Certified Contract Advisors are required to abide by the NFLPA
Regulations Governing Contract Advisors (“the Regulations”). Section 3(B)(32) of the Regulations prohibits Certified Contract Advisors from: (32) Using, associating with, employing or entering into any business relationship with any individual in the recruitment of prospective player-clients who is not Certified and in good standing as a Contract Advisor pursuant to these Regulations," the memo read.

“The Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline (CARD) has reviewed and analyzed the application of Section 3(B)(32) of the Regulations since it was promulgated in 2012.In doing so, CARD has obtained feedback from players, Contract Advisors, and other interested parties who have been impacted by the promulgation of this rule. As a result, CARD has determined that Sec-tion 3(B) (32) should be interpreted to allow for a Contract Advisor to introduce a potential player-client to those persons who work with him/her in providing various player-related services subject to the conditions listed below.

“Accordingly, it shall not be considered a violation of Section (B)(32), which is often referred to as the “runner rule,” if a Certified Contract Advisor meets with a potential player-client at the Contract Advisor’s place of business and, while there, invites other non-NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor employees and/or business associates who provide services to NFL players (collectively “Business Associates”), to meet with the potential player-client in order to introduce that player to the range of services and capabilities offered by that Contract A advisor (‘Introductory Meeting’).”

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