If there’s one thing I love, it’s stories from the recruiting trail. I think you do, too. Here are a few I’ve heard lately.
- I referred an agent who’s gotten a slow start (due to health reasons) to a player who’s badly in need of representation. This young man’s pro day is early, and he’s been training at school in what seems to be a haphazard way, to put it kindly. I know this agent would be a good fit for the young man, who has potential despite a small-school pedigree. Unfortunately, he’s put his trust in a man of faith who, at best, is highly uneducated on the process, and at worst is exploiting his position for personal gain. After one conversation with this pastor, my friend emailed me that he was asked, “what we’re really asking is what does (the kid) get for signing with you?” Unfortunately, more and more, that’s all the recruiting process has come to — what you put in the kid’s hand. “That’s what infuriated me,” my friend emailed me. “He is being misinformed in such a way that may wreck his chance to get a look. Too bad.” Too bad, indeed.
- I was told yesterday that some players wrapping up their final year of eligibility (seniors as well as those entering the draft early) are now pocketing their residential scholarship stipends, then asking agents to pick up their back rent. In some cases, they’re asking potential agents to clear out their back rent, plus pay in advance for the next 4-5 months, even though they’ll be spending most of that time at a combine prep facility. In some cases, that’s a five-figure ask.
- One kid had $10,000 in credit card debts that he wanted wiped away. This was not a first-round talent, just a late-rounder or maybe even a camp guy. This is in addition to major combine prep and all the other trappings of the draft process.
- One player told an agent I know that he liked him, and that the agent hustled and worked hard, but the player had debts that he needed covered. Because that contract advisor wouldn’t cover those debts, the young man wanted to have two agents: one that would cover his debts, and the other who would actually do the agent work. No word on whether or not the ‘other agent’ would be cool with all the debts but only half the fees.
- I’m told that a standard big-agency pitch to players with first-round grades includes (a) lifetime legal representation on all matters (barring an O.J.-style situation); (b) first-class flights for the whole (immediate) family for every game, home and away, in the ’16 season; (c) a guaranteed job in TV or music (but not the film industry) in retirement; and (d) covering the costs of the player’s father moving with him to the place where he trains for the combine. All of this is in addition to a weekly stipend, a signing bonus or marketing guarantee (but not a loan), and possibly reduced fees.
Wow. I guess most (if not all) industries are ran on the fuel of greed and fear. Though supply and demand problems like this can be solved. Currently it seems with such a relatively small pool of talent [prospects] to chase, they begin to dictate the terms. If either opportunities lessened or the pool of talent increased, the problem may subside.
I agree, Dom. It’s just that so few players have realistic draft chances that the demand always exceeds supply.
If not for a few/any agents doing these things,why would any player ask for these things. Also,why would any agent offer these to players,especially low rnd/FA’s. To make money,no matter how little,is still the reason to work. Even for those early in their agent careers right? Then again these players seem to be the next generation of ESPN’s “Broke” series.
I think the agents at the top of the scale are doing these things, but word trickles down to the lesser players, who think they should get the same things. And that isn’t how this business (or maybe any business) works.