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  • Michael Puterbaugh

2018 NFLPA AGENT SEMINAR, WHAT HAPPENED?

Updated: Jul 3, 2018

So, I have been going to the mandatory, once a year, NFLPA agent seminar in Indianapolis for many years. In fact, 2018 marked my 12th straight year. For most of the years, we have had a player in the Combine so it is typically a fun time. This year's seminar was on March 1, 2018. Well, on January 29, 2018 (just over a month before the seminar) all of us agents received an email from the NFLPA informing us that we would have to take a competency test, a "continuing education exam". As an agent, I am a member of the NFLPA (National Football League Player's Association) and, as a member of the NFLPA, I have to pay their not insubstantial yearly dues and purchase malpractice insurance from one of two companies that have the monopoly (my legal malpractice insurance is not acceptable to the NFLPA). I have always had the underlying feeling that the NFLPA is not really looking out for agents despite our membership. Now, a competency exam. Of course this topic came up at the seminar. Agents were foaming at the mouth. "We are practicing lawyers, have been so for many years, and our bar associations don't require us to take competency exams..." was the most vocal cry. In addition, as if to kick us when we were down, the NFLPA informed us that if we didn't receive a passing score we would have to head back to repeat the original agent seminar and retake the examination we first took to become an agent. There was much tongue lashing after this was announced. Old agents got up on their haunches, bellowing how they have represented so many first round draft choices and how they have sued the NFL before, etc.. It got hostile. Strong stuff. They were not going to go along with this. The most powerful agents taking a stand against the NFLPA. I felt pretty good that we weren't going to be taking an exam, that some compromise would be reached. Weeks went by after the seminar and I heard nothing about the competency exam. I was thinking the agents had prevailed. I didn't need to worry about an exam. Then, boom- an email from the NFLPA explaining how and when each of us had to take the exam. So, I took it. I received an email, this past week, saying I passed. That email also informed me that 651 agents took the exam. As of November of 2017, there were an estimated 830 agents. So, why only 651 agents taking the exam? Did the rest simply not take it? Was a compromise reached whereby certain agents didn't have to take the exam? If not, what happened to the outrage at the seminar? Was that just venting, the blowing off of steam, the hurling of idle threats? What happened?

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