Years ago, when we first launched our exam prep materials 10 years ago, I used to spend hours talking to clients who were eagerly awaiting the exam and the promise of an exciting new professional path. I heard lots of interesting stories and talked to lots of would-be agents who have gone on to be some of the biggest names in player representation.

These days, that’s a little harder, and the responsibilities of ITL make it tougher to maintain that personal contact. Still, I want to learn what makes the people diving into such a competitive industry tick, so this year, I set up a brief, six-question survey. I sent it out to almost 200 people who’ll be taking the test next month, and got plenty of responses. I thought I’d share the questions and their answers here to give some insights into the 2021 NFLPA Contract Advisor class.

How sure are you that you will be taking the exam in August?: This question had eye-opening results. With about a month until the 2021 exam — an exam, I might add, that has been two years in the making — we found just a handful of test-takers who have actually booked their test slot (the class is so big the test will be administered in phases this year). Seventy-five percent of poll respondents expressed doubt that they are even approved for the exam. About a third said they are 50-50 on whether or not they are slated to take the exam. This is not good.

How far along are you on preparing for the exam?: A plurality of respondents (36 percent) said they’ve been studying for about a month. That’s right on track with our recommended 60 days (minimum) needed to prepare for the test. A quarter of those polled said they’ve been studying for several months, and just a few more (27 percent) said they’ve been prepping for more than a year. Again, it’s no surprise given how many registrants were expecting to take the test last summer. Of course, there are still procrastinators; 11 percent of respondents have yet to begin.

How confident do you feel about taking the exam?: I asked this question hoping that the hundreds of applicants who’ve received our Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter were optimistic about passing the exam. Whether or not that’s a factor, over half (55 percent) said “If I prepare adequately, I like my chances.” That’s encouraging from a group of people using our exam prep materials. Even more encouraging: 30 percent said they’d be “shocked” if they didn’t pass. Just 13 percent said they “hope to pass.”

Our survey group had a lot more to say about the industry and their chances to succeed in it, their level of commitment, and their concerns regarding the mounting cost of being an agent. We discuss their responses to three more poll questions in the Friday Wrap, which comes out tomorrow at its usual time (7:30 p.m. CT). Register for it here.