NFL contract advisors are pretty independent-minded, and it’s not easy to get all 830 of them to agree on anything. However, we found out this week that the NFLPA managed to do just that when, for the first time ever, it asked agents to pass a 25-question ‘continuing education’ exam this month.

In three seminars held at the combine, in New Orleans, and in Baltimore this spring, respectively, agents expressed their frustration toward NFLPA officials. Specifically, they were upset that the players association was asking its dues-paying members to pass a test that could determine their hard-earned professional standing in a high-visibility profession. Some even threatened lawsuits.

Agents complained that the content they’d be tested on was undefined; that failure to pass the first time could jeopardize clients cut in September; and that the NFLPA hadn’t even told them how many of the 25 questions they must answer correctly to pass. Still, the NFLPA held the line, and contract advisors submitted their answers to the web-based exam by midnight on Tuesday of this week. And though they complied, it didn’t mean participants were happy about it. But just how unhappy were they? We decided to find out.

On Thursday, we sent out a brief, four-question survey to all 830 contract advisors. In it, we asked the following:

  • Having attended one of the three NFLPA seminars this year, how would you describe the Players Association’s explanation of and reasoning for the continuing education exam?
  • Having taken the continuing education exam, which best describes it?
  • How would you characterize taking a test without knowing how many answers you must get right to pass?
  • In the event, remote as it is, you are told you didn’t pass the exam, what do you plan to do?

We gave 3-4 options on each question, trying our best to avoid leading the responses and working to be even-handed. It was something we hoped would at least earn the attention of a pretty critical segment of the NFL business population. Given that it’s summer, there was no fanfare, and our window was pretty tight (we sent it out before noon CT on Thursday and asked for responses before 11 p.m. CT), we’d hoped to get about 30 responses.

We got a lot more than that, with more than 10 percent of the agent class (95) responding despite work schedules, summer vacations and spam filters. We also solicited comments, and we got plenty of those, too. Some were quite fiery.

We’ll have a complete breakdown of the responses today in the Friday Wrap. Most of our respondents were united in their answers to each of the questions, with a clear majority selecting one option on three of the four questions. Based on the feedback from our highly un-scientific poll, agents are angry; they question the NFLPA’s motives; and they are uncertain about what the future holds.

Make sure to get the full rundown on the results by checking out today’s Friday Wrap, which will be out at 6:30 p.m. CT. You can register for it here.

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