First off, happy Memorial Day. I hope you and your family set aside time today to remember why we’re all off work today and able to celebrate with our families. It’s sad that some will scarcely remember why in the world we don’t jet off to the office today.
On Friday on the ITL side, we reported that only 96 out of 175 contract advisors certified last fall went on to sign a prospect for the 2015 NFL draft. That’s about 45 percent, around half of the entire class. We actually missed on our count Friday, calling it 94. Anyway . . . .
Here’s the rationale for those 79 agents without clients this year. No. 1, they get a really late start on the process, because though they take the test at the end of July in Washington, D.C., they don’t get their results until late September. That means they get a really late jump on the process. OK, I get that. I don’t agree, but I get it.
Here’s a secondary reason. A serious portion of those that come into the game only got certified because they thought they had a sure thing — a nephew, or brother, or a player they coached in Pop Warner, or whatever. Then they get to November or December, and then they get the ‘hey, I love you like a brother and you’re always gonna be part of the family, but I gotta go with this experienced agent over here.’ Discouraged, they sign no one.
The third reason is really a fear of getting in the game. Many of them get certified thinking the costs of representing a player are negligible (that’s off by about $10,000/player) and they feel like they’ll get a fair shot if they play by the local college’s rules and get registered properly in the states where they recruit. Then they find out the players they waited all season to talk to had been having discussions with agents since the previous summer, and have already made up their minds.
But that’s for another day. I know a lot of people who’ll take the agent exam this summer read this blog. I want those people to decide, right now, that they will truly go for it if they get into this business. If you make it to certification, don’t be satisfied with simply putting that on your business card.
The pro football business, despite its difficulties (and there are plenty), has the shortest incubation period (from player signed to player paying his agent) in professional athletics. Represent a baseball player or hockey player, and it may take years for him to wind his way through the minor leagues, then in baseball, you don’t get paid until he makes it past arbitration. In basketball, which has a much shorter bench, you better identify the top players when they’re in seventh grade, then start cozying up to their families very early. In football, you might meet a kid in December, sign him in January, and see him make a roster in September. You won’t find that in any other sport.
Gotta run. But my basic message is the same as it is every day in this space. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Decide what you’re going to do, count the cost, then really sell out for it. There’s no feeling like succeeding in football.