The question stands now that without the rule, will we see more college juniors apply for the draft? Most likely not! This decision is not driven by agents but by the player’s personal situation and his potential draft value. I’m sure once in a great while, an uninformed and naive player may be influenced to come out early by an agent but it happens less than head coaches or anyone else thinks it does.
Here are some ways colleges and agents can work together in harmony in the best interest of the players:
1) Operate a presentation/interview week in which players and their families are encouraged to speak with agents. The only way an agent can be invited is if he agrees to limit his contact to the player during the season. Stanford had a rule in place last year for their players in which agents can contact player but only by email and you had to copy the pro liaison. Therefore, everything was transparent and the player could chose when to contact the agent. However, one Stanford player told me he opened the door to the agent process in May and regretted it because the agent he started dialog with wouldn’t leave him alone once the season started.
2) Have agents sign an agreement with the conference(s) that spell out windows of contacts such as May, June and/or July, during the off week in season and immediately after the last regular season game. The only problem with this model is that those who don’t agree to the conferences’ guidelines will be at an advantage like the aggressive agents had in the junior rule.
3) Put more pressure on the college players to abide by team rules. If they have a fear of losing their scholarship and being suspended they may make better decision. However, the best thing a head coach can do is bring his best players into his office and tell him he will help him in his pro endeavors if he promises to do things with transparency and be patient.
I have always been and always will be a big proponent for paying student athletes bigger stipends and giving them a bigger piece of the money they help produce for the member schools. Agents are not as big of a problem as people think they are and there is still room for improvement on how both parties can work together in the best interest of the student athlete. After all, there is nothing wrong or selfish with a college player who aspires to play in the NFL.
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