Here are a few thoughts gathered while standing outside the Ritz-Carlton, handing out ITL literature to aspiring contract advisors during their lunch break.

  • According to what NFLPA officials announced at the start of today’s session, there are close to 300 people taking the exam this year. That’s a second straight bumper crop. Last year’s total was in the 300 neighborhood as well, but that was chalked up to the fact that it was the first class post-‘runner rule.’ Many here this year are with big firms, but many are independent. It just goes to show the passion so many have for pursuing a career in sports representation. It remains a very attractive industry.
  • Based on the sample size that passed by me on the way to find lunch, applicants are about 50-50 white and black, about 80 percent male, and probably 75 percent 40 or younger. Probably 30-40 percent looked to be 30 or younger.
  • I think I spoke to 6-8 people re-taking the test after failing last year.
  • It’s a young man’s game, on and off the field. There is at least one 22-year-old and one 23-year-old taking the test this year. So far, it looks like the oldest person taking the exam this year is in his early 50s, and there may be 3-4 more in that age range, but no more.
  • I’m told there’s at least one couple taking the exam.
  • It’s interesting to watch how the various aspiring agents carry themselves and how they dress. There are a handful in shorts and T-shirts as if they’re attending a cookout, but far more in coat and tie or a similar look. The lion’s share are in slacks and business shirts.
  • It’s not all about football here at the Ritz this week. The alt-rock band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds made its way through the hotel bar last night after a local performance. Give them a listen (I did). They kinda suck.
  • Activities wrap up around 4:30-5 this afternoon, then the applicants return tomorrow for a morning session before the test is administered Friday afternoon.

We’ll have more from the scene tonight at the Ritz and its surroundings in Friday’s post.