After the NFLPA filed decertification papers on Friday, word came down indicating the union would discontinue its agent regulation system, as well. While decertification is the major storyline, along with a potential NFL lockout, it’s the lack of regulation that could be damaging to the sport, especially at the college level, in the immediate future. The NCAA is already fighting an agent problem and without proper regulation from a governing body, agents can, theoretically, do whatever they’d like at any level.
The report comes from Pro Football Management, obtained from an email indicating the NFLPA has decided to kill its agent regulation system.
One immediate consequence of decertification, Ive already received an email saying the NFLPA is discontiniuing its agent regulation system.
It means, in essence, the agents have open season on almost everything. Without a regulation system, agents have no rules, though they already operate in shades of gray. From tampering — dealing with another agent’s player — to working amateurs — enforced by the NCAA — the possibilities are endless.
Poaching is the biggest concern as agents quickly work to secure new clients. One agent has reportedly already begun attempts to poach, according to CBS Sports.
That didn’t take long…NFL agent to CBSSports.com: “One of my clients said another agent is already trying to poach him.” Vultures.
This doesn’t mean the apocalypse is upon us. There are still levels of regulation, from NCAA rules to laws, that prevent agents from crossing boundaries. It does, however, take away a layer of protection, and the fear of unemployment. Previously, the NFLPA was responsible for sanctioning its agents, as well as certifying them to work with NFL players. As the regulation system ends, at least temporarily, some of the safeguards end with it.
While it’s nice to think agents have the morals and values to play within the rules, it’s also unrealistic. Agents have, for better or worse, been painted as slimy figures willing to do whatever it takes to reach the goal. Without the NFLPA looking over their shoulder, a messy situation could erupt. While it’s not a story that rivals the impending lockout, it’s an intriguing subplot to the bigger story.
For the latest, check out the rest of our NFL lockout StoryStream.