By Justin VanFulpen
This time of the year in college football, the mock drafts start coming out and people start talking about what players will declare early. But just because some on the internet is saying that this player should declare early or someone close to the player telling him that he should leave school early might not know all the facts.
1. NFL Scouts weren’t allowed to scout underclassmen, until this season when the rule was changed. But with this rule change this year with the new agreement with the AFCA and NFL that took effect, where school gave the scout a list of 5 possible players that could declare that they were allowed to get info on. Scouts do look at the guys that they know for sure will be coming out early, but their main focus is the senior prospects. The underclassmen that aren’t general accepted as a 1st round pick there is rarely any work done on them during the season.
2. Underclassmen aren’t allowed at post season all-star games. 6 years ago with the NFLPA started the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl they were going to challenge the NFL rule and did allow one underclassmen in the game. That caused the NFL teams not to send a single scout to that all-star game. Because of that the NFLPA has only allowed seniors in their all-star game for then on. As we saw in the 2013 NFL Draft All-Star games are a big part of the process where OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan went from a late first rounder all the way up to the number one overall pick because of his play at the Senior Bowl.
3. NFL Combine – First official time NFL scouts can talk to underclassmen. Just because a prospect has declared early doesn’t automatically get him an invite to the NFL combine. So if a prospect is not invited then really the first time a scout get to talk with a prospect is at his school Pro Day.
4. NFL Draft Advisory Board – The board is composed of general managers and personnel directors from a number of NFL teams, along with the directors of the NFL’s two scouting combines, BLESTO and National. A prospect can ask for their assessment on where he is projected to get drafted. The board will return their assessment of the prospect with three possible grades – first round, second round, or neither, which means that the board advises the player to stay in school. The school can get a hold of the NFL Draft Advisory Board or the prospect can contact the NFL Player Personnel Department directly.
5. The 2017 NFL Draft included 95 underclassmen and another eight who entered the draft having earned a degree but still with NCAA playing eligibility. 67 underclassmen were drafted, leaving 28 (30 percent) not drafted. The 2016 NFL Draft 30 of 96 underclassmen were not chosen (31 percent).
Every prospects situation is different when thinking about declaring early for the NFL Draft but each prospect should get as much information as possible in regards to leaving school early for the NFL Draft.
By Justin VanFulpen
Then simple answer is whenever he wants to or feels he needs to. A coach can negotiate his own contract and he can do all the other things an agent helps with. College Football coaches are busy and we all have 24 hours in a day so the question comes does having an agent free up some time? Does the agent bring other value to the coach? In terms of other service the agent provides or even just being a confidential sounding board.
If I would hire someone to cut my lawn, it is not the fact that I can’t do it, it is the fact I would rather do something else with my time. This is the same principle here, a coach can know the market place in terms of salaries, contracts, opening, and more but it might be helpful to have someone else there to do some of the work as well.
Also with College Football became even more of a big business on all levels it could be good to have someone to be your voice or even play the “bad cop” role with administration or whoever is in charge of the contracts. But also there is much more that coaches use their agent for then just getting a deal done and a contract negotiated.
The question I have gotten in the past is “what is the downside” and the answer is there really isn’t one, you as the coach empower the agent to negotiate or inquire about a job or other service so a reputable agent really could only increase your value, add more time back to you or enhance what you are already doing. Another thing I have heard is “I don’t want an agent to ruin the reputation that I have built so far in my career” and to that I say at the end of the day you are the boss the agent works for you so you guys should have communicated on how you as the coach want things done and it if it doesn’t work out that is when you terminate the relationship.
By Justin VanFulpen
Social Media Consulting: An agent can review coach’s social media accounts to make sure they are presenting the best image possible and if they aren’t on a social media platform help them get on it and use it to its best ability possible.
Interview Preparation: An agent can help get coaches prepared for their job interview from everything such as sample interview questions to reviewing their overall plan.
Media & Public Relations: An agent can help coaches utilize the media and public relations as the ability to get their message out there and help increase their visibility and showcase their skills.
Career Counsel: An agent can be a sounding board with proven-expertise to assist coaches in their all aspects of their career.
Marketing: An agent can help our coaches identifying potential outside income opportunities that may be available to them, such as public appearances, paid media opportunities, golf outings and more.
Job Placement Support: An agent can work to put their coach in the best position to obtain their desired position through anticipating openings, gathering information, and strategizing in all areas of the search process.
Contract Negotiation: An agent can focus on maximizing their coaches earning potential and professional protection, while the coach can just focus on being the best coach he can be.
By Justin VanFulpen
There is a saying that “coaches are hired to be fired” or move on to another opportunity. Everyone knows that college football at any level is a business and the primary role of any coaches’ agent is to help his or her client get a job or get a better job. A successful agent may significantly enhance his or her clients’ bargaining power if he or she is truly knowledgeable about the level and type of compensation available to candidates in the market.
Most if not all of the top college coaches have agents, and some are represented by the same agent or agency. Some people think that there is a conflict of interest with agents that might represent multiple coaches or both players and coaches. But the job on an agent is to do what is in the best interest for his or her client. As an agent, you’re only trying to facilitate something for your client, and that’s your job.
In the football coaching business you can’t insure success in terms of wins on the field, if things go wrong there can be factors that are beyond a coach’s control. But what a coach can control is have or not having someone working for them behind the scenes.
As a college coach with a job there is much more than just coaching the X’s and O’s so to have someone advising you on the land scape of the football business, if it is about a new job opportunity, a contract, an off the field opportunity and much more, it can be invaluable.
Some coaches might reason, only head coaches need an agent or why do I need an agent, I can put these deals together on my own. The really question should be why wouldn’t you have someone representing you. It is another pair of eyes looking at a deal, someone to bounce an idea or thought off of that has experience in the football business. True a coach could just use an attorney to look at a contract but they normally don’t have a lot of experience with everything else that goes on in the football business world.
Just like in any business there are better agents then others but the fact is being in the college football industry having an agent to represent you to athletic directors or other coaches behind the scenes so it doesn’t take your focus away from the task at hand can be invaluable.