FAQs

Where can I receive counseling on my future professional athletics career?
A student-athlete can contact the institution's athletics director to learn if his/her school sponsors a professional sports counseling panel. An authorized professional sports counseling panel is permitted to advise a student-athlete about a future professional career, provide direction on securing disability insurance, review a proposed contract, meet with the student-athlete and representatives of professional teams, communicate directly with representatives of a professional team to assist in securing a tryout with that team, assist in selecting an agent by participating with the student-athlete in interviews of agents and by reviewing information provided by agents, and visit with agents or representatives of professional athletics teams to assist the student-athlete in determining his/her market value.

Can an institution provide educational sessions on agents, professional teams, the draft, etc.?
Yes. A professional sports counseling panel can be a resource provided by the institution to help educate student-athletes interested in a professional sports career.

Can I request that a professional athletics organization send me information concerning my professional market value?
Yes. An individual may request information about professional market value without affecting his or her amateur status.

Can I seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract?
A student-athlete can seek advice from an attorney or third party regarding a proposed professional contract if that attorney or third party does not represent the student-athlete in negotiations for that contract. It is not permissible for an attorney or third party to be present during discussions of a contract with a professional team, and the attorney or third party may not have contact with a professional sports organization on your behalf. It is considered representation if an attorney or third party are present during such discussions.

As an enrolled student-athlete, am I allowed to enter the draft without jeopardizing my eligibility?
Division I-A and I-AA football student-athletes are permitted to enter the NFL draft one time without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and the student-athlete declares his intention to resume intercollegiate football participation within 72 hours after the NFL draft declaration date. In the above circumstance, the individual may not have an oral or written agreement with an agent or not received any benefits from an agent in order to return to or enroll in an NCAA institution.

As a currently enrolled student-athlete or prospective student-athlete, is being drafted the only way to play in the NFL?
No. As a general rule of thumb, an individual can petition the NFL to declare for the draft three years subsequent to his/her high school graduation date. Four years subsequent to high school graduation, an individual is immediately eligible for the draft. If an individual is not drafted, then he/she is considered a free agent immediately following the primary draft of his/her draft year. Please note that this may vary depending on specific circumstances, so contact the NFL for more details.

As an enrolled student-athlete, can I try out for a professional team without jeopardizing my eligibility?
As a prospective student-athlete? As a junior college transfer student-athlete?A prospective student-athlete remains eligible in a sport even though, prior to enrollment in a collegiate institution, the student-athlete may have tried out with a professional athletics team in a sport or received not more than one expense paid visit from each professional team, provided such a visit did not exceed 48 hours and any payment or compensation with the visit was not in excess of actual and necessary expenses. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time.A student-athlete shall not try out with a professional athletics team in a sport or permit a professional athletics team to conduct medical examinations during any part of the academic year while enrolled in a collegiate institution as a regular student in at least a minimum full-time academic load, unless the student-athlete has exhausted eligibility in that sport. The student-athlete may try out with a professional organization in a sport during the summer or during the academic year while not a full-time student, provided the student-athlete does not receive any form of expenses or other compensation from the professional organization.

Who do I contact to get information on my draft status?
In order to determine how high an individual will be drafted, there is an NFL panel that can be contacted. An institution's professional sports counseling panel may request information for a student-athlete from a professional sports team or organization regarding the student-athlete's potential as a professional athlete.

What is the NFL combine?
Each February, professional scouts from the NFL select senior athletes to participate in the combines. The athletes are tested in a series of drills including timed runs, strength and conditioning and position drills, and are given thorough physical and mental examinations.

Can I attend the NFL combine, as an enrolled student-athlete, without affecting my eligibility?
A prospective student-athlete remains eligible in a sport even though, prior to enrollment in a collegiate institution, the student-athlete may have tried out with a professional athletics team in a sport or received not more than one expense-paid visit from each professional team, provided such a visit did not exceed 48 hours and any payment or compensation with the visit was not in excess of actual and necessary expenses. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time.Subsequent to enrollment, a student-athlete shall not try out with a professional athletics team in a sport or permit a professional athletics team to conduct medical examinations during any part of the academic year while enrolled in a collegiate institution as a regular student in at least a minimum full-time academic load, unless the student-athlete has exhausted eligibility in that sport. The student-athlete may try-out with a professional organization in a sport during the summer or during the academic year while not a full-time student, provided the student-athlete does not receive any form of expenses or other compensation from the professional organization.

Do I have to attend the NFL Combine in order to be drafted?
No. Many star players in the league are not at the Combine yet they still were drafted, sometimes in upper rounds.

Can my coach or anybody else market my athletic ability to a professional sports organization?
A coach or other individual may not, directly or indirectly, market a prospective or enrolled student-athlete's athletic ability or reputation to a professional sports team or organization.

Can I talk to an agent while I am a prospective or enrolled student-athlete?
An individual may talk to an agent; however, an individual shall be ineligible in an intercollegiate sport if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport, or if an agent provides benefits to the prospective student-athlete or student-athlete. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport.

If I am interested in hiring an agent, what process do I need to go through?
Your institution's professional sports counseling panel is a valuable resource for providing guidance in screening and selecting agents, and for negotiating contract terms with a professional organization.
When making an agreement with an agent, you should have a clear understanding of the actual terms and conditions of the agreement. The agreement needs to be clearly expressed in writing -- in written contract form or by retainer letter. Some of the provisions that should be included in an agent's agreement to provide services include: (1) the duration of the agreement and the renewal provisions; (2) how disputes are going to be resolved should they arise; (3) whether the agent has an exclusive right to handle all contracts or just the playing contract; (4) how the agent is to be paid (on a contingent fee or hourly basis); (5) whether the agent is to receive a percentage of bonuses, playoff money or awards; (6) who is responsible for the agent's expenses; and (7) what procedures must be followed if the athlete wishes to terminate the relationship with the agent.
Once you have selected an agent and have been offered a contract from a professional team, you need to consider the following factors when negotiating provisions of a player contract: length of playing contract, base salary, timing of payments, signing bonuses, reporting bonuses, performance and other bonuses, incentives, salary guarantees, trade provisions, additional injury provisions, options, special benefits, and personal-conduct provisions.

What percentage of my contract does my agent get if I sign with a professional team?
The maximum fee is 3% a year. Agent fees are negotiable. The majority range between 2% and 3% a season. Fees get paid to agents only as you earn your salary. Major expenses only can be made with your explicit consent. You must receive a yearly statement from your agent detailing all services and all charges.

Is it okay for me to make an agreement with an agent that will not transpire until after I have completed my collegiate athletics career?
No. You may not agree, orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent in the future. An individual shall be ineligible if he/she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent or other individual for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his/her eligibility in that sport.

Can I accept any benefits from an agent or any other individual based on my athletic ability?
No. You, your relatives or friends may not accept benefits from an agent, financial advisor, runner or any other person associated with an agency business. These benefits include (but are not limited to) transportation, money and gifts, regardless of the value of the benefit or whether it is used.

What is disability insurance?
Disability insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection against the loss of future earnings as a professional athlete due to a disabling injury. There are two types of disability insurance: (1) permanent total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term; and he/she will not be able to participate ever again (unless the policy specifies a shorter period of time) in his/her sport; and (2) temporary total disability, which pays benefits when an athlete suffers total disability during the policy term and he/she is not able to participate in his/her sport at the time of the designated medical evaluation.