As of today, the 2019 NFL Contract Advisors Exam is exactly three weeks away. We're working with dozens of agent hopefuls who are furiously studying drug policy, accrued seasons vs. credited seasons, the waiver process and all manner of CBA-related topics.
However, at some point, the exam will be over, and the 45 percent of all test-takers that pass (per average totals the last four years) will face a mountain far steeper to climb: the challenge of navigating one of the toughest (although one of the most glamorous) jobs in sports.
We asked several of those headed to Washington, D.C., next month what concerns them most about Year 1. For most, the hardest part will be answering one question: "So who you got?"
"Many players' first question when you approach them is, 'who else do you represent?' Having said that, I believe the greatest hurdle is going to be procuring my first client," said one person readying for the agent exam. "I am likely going to have to find a player who is willing to take a chance on a rookie agent, or I will have to find a 'diamond in the rough.'"
Others are worried most about the investment of time and/or money that ultimately comes to nothing.
"I will say, most likely, spending a lot of time recruiting a player for them to go a different direction probably will be one of those 'unexpected hurdles,' I encounter that hits me a certain way Year 1," averred another prospective player rep. Said yet another: "(The) greatest hurdle will be the cost factor down the line when it comes to the clients training."
Another perceived obstacle is the dominance big firms exert over small and middle-class firms in today's game.
"I think the biggest obstacle is going to be breaking into an area that is top-heavy," said one agent hopeful. "In other words, there are a handful of agencies that represent a majority of the available players . . . While there are still clients to be had, I think it is going to be challenging to establish those connections and relationships in order to position myself to land my first client."
"The lesson I have learned is the difficulty of making connections on the scouting side," said Indianapolis-based Austin Pfenninger, who landed two players on undrafted free agent deals this year. "There is no blueprint within the industry, and the scouting part of the job is the hardest."
More advice, this time from New York City-based Jumaane Ford, who already has two clients in the league in his first year in the business: "Limit your long shots. I would rather have three really strong clients compared to seven 'what if' clients."
Still, first things first. More than 200 men and women will take the exam in 21 days. We're here to help with
a study guide
and two tests (
). We've also got three more weeks of newsletters plus our weekly blog,
. We've had numerous posts about the exam, sample questions and tips over the past seven years.
If you're studying madly for the exam, take heed of what others have said, be confident in your abilities and most of all, be prepared. In the meantime, we're here when you need us.
Here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the world of college and Pro football this week.
We're only a little more than a third of the way through our team-by-team look at the top prospects and schools across the nation, so there's still a lot of good info to go. This week, we looked at
, while next week, we'll check out
take a trip through the Bayou State with
LSU, Louisiana Tech, La.-Lafayette
. Also, next week marks the rollout of our expanded reports, which will include the top 10 prospects, regardless of class, at selected schools, along with a round projection for each, plus a handful of other players to keep an eye on. We debuted this feature
in last week's Friday Wrap with Miami (Fla.),
as penned by
former Hurricanes Director of Player Personnel
, and it created quite a stir. We're hopeful it provides another key feature for our clients as we look at LSU next week; Louisville and Maryland the following weeks; and Michigan the third week in July. The following month will bring
N.C. State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State
, and we'll round things out with
Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia
. We'll continue to add schools if they remain popular; right now, we're still in the beta phase. What do you think? Are they helpful? Could we improve them with a few tweaks?
Let us know
; we value your feedback. In the meantime, we'll keep rolling. Review all 49 schools we've broken down so far by clicking
Succeed in Football:
Imagine scanning the channels on Sunday afternoon and finding no appealing matchups while counting the hours until your beloved Crimson Tide takes the field again Saturday. What if you could pick a game based on the number of
former troops on each NFL team, based on the helmet they appeared to wear? Even better, what if you could easily identify each of them as they played, maybe even watching as your favorite former 'Bama hero went head to head with a player appearing to wear an LSU, Florida, or even Auburn helmet? Or, what if you were in a tight fantasy football matchup, and as the Sunday night game kicked off, your players, as well as the players on your opponent's team, appeared to wear uniforms with
your respective fantasy teams' logos on them
? Better yet, what if you could upload your own image onto the screen so you could watch
quarterback your favorite team to victory? These are just a few of the possibilities as Augmented Reality (AR) begins to take hold across pro and college football platforms. In this week's Sports Tech column,
NFL Draft Bible
discusses the NFL Players Association's work with a consortium that is working to bring these ideas to reality. You can get an early look at the possibilities in projection mapping this weekend when
40 Yards of Gold comes to pay-per-view screens on Saturday night
. Contestants will vie for prize money
or will they?
as they race across the moon, a busy highway, or any of a number of landscapes digitally added to the broadcast. Make sure to
check out Ric's column
, the latest post on our weekly blog,
Succeed in Football
Agents by Total Active Clients:
This week, we had our usual monthly look at which individual contract advisors are doing the most work, based on the NFLPA's rolls. A few things we found out: there are 80 agents - exactly 10 percent of all registered contract advisors - with at least 10 active clients. Twenty-four firms have at least two members with 10 or more active clients (again, per the NFLPA's count), while six have four or more (CAA, Sportstars, Athletes First, Select Sports Group, VaynerSports and Young Money APAA Sports). As usual, Drew Rosenhaus of Miami Beach, Fla.-based Rosenhaus Sports leads the way with 104 clients, while CAA has four in the top ten (Todd France, Jimmy Sexton, Tom Condon and Tory Dandy) and Sportstars has two (Jared Fox and Jonathan Perzley, with Dave Butz just missing the cut at No. 11). Be sure to find out which agents are making the most noise by checking out
this month's list
. Then find out who's rising and falling by
checking out last month's totals
. Also, for a full roundup of all agent changes going back 10 years, click
This week, our mining of the football business world produced two reports.
, we looked at the second entry in the 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft, Syracuse OB
, and which agency he's expected to choose. We also had the buzz on the latest new member of the NFL scouting community, a tweak to the
, and a little info on an interesting 2020 prospect. Then,
, we had notes on
The Spring League's
summer ventures, the just-completed June Showcase and next month's July Showcase, and why agents need to be paying attention (players can apply for next month's action
). We also scanned the all-star landscape for 2021 and had a few offseason developments on three established showcases. Finally, we cleared up a little confusion regarding XFL personnel. We'll be back in force next week with a full slate of reports. In the meantime, don't forget to check out our work from all of 2019
From turf to turnbuckle?:
Just a reminder that while the XFL continues to sift through the remnants of the football-playing community, chances are the league will be mostly populated by September cuts and refugees from the Alliance of American Football. If you have a client who's a great athlete but who was snubbed by the XFL's recent showcases, maybe it's time to consider the XFL's parent organization, the WWE. It's not like there aren't dozens of success stories from the ranks of former NFL players, and tryout camp is held in a sunny location (Orlando, Fla.), is totally free of cost, and is still several weeks off (next one on the schedule will be sometime in September). Why not kick the tires? What do you have to lose?
Send us a message today
and let us acclimate you on the possibilities of a career in wrestling and a no-obligations, totally cost-free tryout opportunity.
July beckons, which means it's a time for baseball, fireworks and maybe some swimming, but not football. Well, everywhere else, that is. At Inside the League, we're working on catching up on a few things we've still not gotten to. It's kind of a "spring cleanup," only well into the summer. As you know, we're months behind (again) on our
lists. We owe our readers three reports (April, May and June); maybe this is the week we start digging into the backlog. We've also got newsletters under way. Though the first session of the
ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process
is over (there's more
if you want it), we'll return with our second session next month. Naturally, there's also the
ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter
; we've completed our interviews with
the success stories from last year's class
, and for the next two-and-a-half weeks until agent hopefuls arrive in Washington, D.C., we'll have a "greatest hits" series of past interviews, along with a greater focus on what to do when you get to D.C., last-minute test tips, and anything else we can come up with to help test-takers get past the hardest agent exam of the four major sports. Oh by the way - we've also got the most proven and cheapest agent exam materials on the market -
a study guide without compare, plus two practice exams
-- and you've got one last chance to get them before prices jump (and we mean it this time), but only if you buy this weekend. It's 'go' time; the 2019 exam (maybe the last one for two years) is in less than three weeks. Then again, if you're already certified, you'll want to pay close attention to Tuesday's
when we'll not only feature
, but we'll have an expanded look at the team's top 10 prospects with round projections, plus we'll give readers a look at a handful of other players to watch among the Tigers. There's also
Liberty, Louisiana Tech, La.-Lafayette,
ahead. We'll also have a sharper focus on the agent business, perhaps with a few tips on strategy, for the coming NFL agent class in our weekly blog for people new to the industry,
Succeed in Football
. We'll also dig up everything we can find about scouting hires or dismissals, all-star game developments, college coaching buzz, agent terminations, new leagues in the pipeline, changes in representation (or in the people working for agencies), new rules and what they mean, the latest trends, and whatever else we can find in our
. It's going to be another full week. We're happy to provide every resource you need to excel in the toughest business of them all, the sports business.
Let us show you how we can help.