Meeting with Sports Agents & Timing a Draft Declaration

meeting with sports agentsWhen should you begin meeting with sports agents?

The college football regular season is entering its final stages, and with the end of the season so close, some players may be thinking about the next NFL draft.

When is it OK to declare for the draft?

Once the CFB season ends, players can begin speaking with agents and putting together their strategies before the Jan. 15, 2016, deadline for declaring for the next draft. Players should be careful though – if they begin speaking with an agent too soon, or try to declare before they are eligible, they can run into problems with the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its many rules. It is important, for example, to ensure eligibility before declaring for the draft and taking the next step to the NFL.

Players cannot declare for the NFL draft out of high school, or even after their first years in college. They have to play for their schools for a set amount of time before they are allowed to declare for the draft. Eligible players have been out of high school for at least three years, and have reached the limit for number of college football seasons allowed. However, under certain circumstance players who have not used up all of their college eligibility may be allowed to declare for the draft early, if they receive permission from the league. Players who are draft-eligible, or who have declared early, work with the league’s player personnel staff to ensure they are, in fact, allowed to enter the draft under NCAA and league rules.

The time to speak with an agent

Between now and Jan. 15, numerous college football players will both declare for the draft and begin speaking with agents. The latter task, choosing an agent, must also be approached thoughtfully. Players are allowed to speak with an agent as long as the player does not discuss hiring or other matters relating to agent representation. Introductions and informational discussions are permitted. However, such communication could prove fruitless if it is determined the individual is breaking the rules.

Determining when to speak with an agent and when to declare for the draft may be confusing for some players. It is important to remember, waiting until after the final game of the final season of eligibility is a good rule to stick to. Before that, football-focus should be directed toward becoming a better player and helping the team win.

For more information on the NFL draft, choosing an agent and other related concerns, speak with an experienced sports law attorney.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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