The NFL Players Association has decided to implement a new continuing education requirement for all of its certified Contract Advisors tasked with representing NFL players in team contract negotiations. All such agents will be required to participate and pass a test every 2 years to demonstrate their continuing knowledge of relevant rules.
Those agents who fail the test will be required to join new Contract Advisor applicants at a required seminar and re-take the introductory test that all applicant Contract Advisors must take and pass before they are provided the privilege to represent NFL players.
This update puts NFL agents on a similar pedestal as other professionals such as lawyers and accountants, who are required to obtain a certain amount of continuing education credits at different points throughout their careers. It will keep NFL agents on their toes, ensuring that they stay on top of the rules and regulations, as well as the collective bargaining agreement between players and team owners, which changes from time-to-time.
Some NFL agents don't love the idea.
"To me this move is to create the appearance that agents will be better suited to represent players. Having relationships in the league is what makes you an effective agent," says NFL agent Howard Shatsky. "If you need to get creative and draft something which is [collective bargaining agreement] friendly, which rarely happens, you should be able to do that. To me, if I'm a player I want an agent with a lot of relationships in the NFL, not one with a high test score on their exam!"
The test will be open-book, which is the same for Contract Advisor applicants, and yet many applicants fail that intro-level test.
"[I'm] hoping it catches a few who have not enough knowledge of CBA, benefits, etc, because maybe they haven't read [collective bargaining agreement] since passing exam," says NFL agent Ryan Earls. "I got a client 500k in term pay that not even the NFLPA thought he qualified for (at first) and their automated flags didn't catch, due to my diligence and understanding of benefits not listed in [the] CBA. Would the bottom 5-10% of agents have caught that? Who knows. I don't think it's a big deal and should be easy."