Thanks for visiting our blog!

Search This Blog

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Agent Day: Recognized By Some Schools, Ignored By Many

Imagine that you are once again a senior in high school. You want to go to college but are not really sure of how to handle the entire process. You can discuss it with your parents, but since they really don't have the time or expertise to keep up on all the inner workings of the college admission process, you think it would be in your best interest if the school guidance counselor assists you in evaluating potential college choices. Can the school official help you in reviewing the college information being sent to you by each school? No, he tells you, it is not in his job description. Can the school official assist you in interviewing representatives from colleges that you are considering? Once again, can't be done - that's not part of his job description and is not even offered by your high school. OK - you'll make it even easier - why doesn't the high school school invite colleges to your school so all people who are interested in going to college will have an easily accessible (and school monitored) forum to meet with institutions that will influence their future educational objectives? "Sorry, we don't do that."

The beforenoted hypothetical - a student being thwarted by school policy in his attempt to learn more about his future "partner" in the educational world - is very similar to the policy of most NCAA schools in regard to the assistance (or lack of) they provide to student-athletes who are trying to pick an agent for representation. Most schools treat the agent as a non-being, one who if they ignore will go away. Would not it make more sense to have agents attend a school-sponsored forum so that the school could monitor the interaction of the agents with its athletes who have the capability to compete on the professional sports level? While such a setting would not be fool-proof in its attempt to monitor all the acts of all agents, it would allow schools to assist their athletes in the initial screening of those individuals that are offering representation services - and also to monitor what information and representations are being offered o the students. I have attended these "Agent Days" at such schools as North Carolina, North Carolina State, Cincinnati and Tennessee. Unfortunately, at most other schools at which I recruit the second coming of Godzilla is more apt to occur than agents being invited to go on campus.

As a prerequisite for attending an Agent Day at a college, an agent is usually required to file a questionnaire with the Compliance Department of the school, the questionnaire requesting data concerning the general background of the agent's business, whether any previous clients have ever made a claim against the agent, how the agent bills his services and a list of client references. If he is then invited to Agent Day, the agent is then usually required to provide the school with a list of senior athletes he desires to meet. The school schedules meetings with those students who will meet with the agent, the meetings usually taking place on a Sunday afternoon during the season at a campus (classroom) location. At the meeting, which can be attended by the athlete's parents and/or other confidants, the agent is allowed generally 30 minutes to make a presentation of his services. Subsequent to the meeting, most agents then attempt to keep in touch with the player via telephone or e-mail until the college season (and the player's college eligibility) ends, at which time the player is allowed to formally commit to the agent for representation.

The advantages of the Agent Day process have been previously noted: the school can initially screen agents, it can supervise their actual meetings with players and also provide any assistance on-site for questions an athlete (and his family) may have when meeting with an agent in such a forum. The system is not all-encompassing, however, due to the fact that agents (and athletes) will always have the ability to evade any school supervision of the representation recruiting process.

When I have asked some school officials why they do not sponsor an Agent Day I have been given a myriad of bizarre and "they obviously don't get it" responses:

- "We don't want agents on campus."
- "We don't have the time."
- "What's that?"
- "We tell our players they don't need an agent." (this from the coach that has one)
- "The agents will talk to our underclassmen if we let them on campus."
-"We already have some agents we trust."

And my one, all-time favorite: "It's not allowed by the NCAA."

Oh, tell that to the schools that have been wisely doing it for years now.