SF

Frequently Asked Questions

Schwartz & Feinsod FAQ section contains a comprehensive listing of common questions that our athletes bring to us.

To download additional information from the NCAA on having a career in professional athletics, click here. If you have additional comments or questions for the staff, please feel free to contact us.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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. Further, the 72-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m., after the NFL draft declaration deadline. This date is traditionally in mid-January.

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    Can I attend the NFL combine, as an enrolled student-athlete, without affecting 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.

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    What can my financial advisor do for me?

    A financial advisor is an expert who can provide you with guidance in the areas of finance, taxes, investments and law.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    Who do I talk to about disability insurance?

    You should contact your institution's professional sports counseling panel, athletics director or the NCAA for information on disability insurance. There are only a few companies that provide this type of insurance for athletes; however, there are numerous insurance brokers/agents who can sell the disability coverage. The NCAA also sponsors a disability insurance program for elite student-athletes in specific sports.

    For more information on NCAA disability insurance select the following: Student-Athlete Insurance Programs

  • Question:

    Can my family and friends 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.

  • Question:

    Should I hire a financial advisor if I decide to pursue a professional sports career?

    It is your decision whether or not you hire a financial advisor; however, be cautious when doing so. If you decide to hire a financial advisor or sports agent, consider the following:

    1. All agreements between you and the advisor/agent should be in writing, but before signing an agreement, have an independent attorney review it to make sure it says what it is supposed to say.
    2. Make sure the advisor/agent documents and explains his/her financial management and investment philosophies and strategies.
    3. Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to an annual independent audit of your financial dealings.
    4. Require the advisor/agent to provide regular and written status reports on your finances.
    5. Require the advisor/agent to provide proof of coverage for fidelity insurance or bonding to protect you in the event of theft by the advisor/agent.
    6. Do not grant the advisor/agent power of attorney to act on your behalf.
    7. Make it a contractual obligation of the advisor/attorney to promptly inform you in writing of any potential or actual conflicts of interest as your representative.
    8. Make sure the advisor/agent agrees to provide you full access to any financial records in his/her custody.
    9. Make sure that the advisor/agent is available at all times and is committed to your best interest.
  • Question:

    Do I have to have an agent to sign a contract?

    No. There are several professional athletes who have chosen not to hire an agent; rather, these professional athletes have hired attorneys who are paid at an hourly rate.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    What is the National Football League Players Association?

    The NFLPA helps players find legitimate and registered agents and financial planners, negotiate contracts and salary, obtain benefits, file grievances, get involved in licensing and marketing programs, and gain access to membership programs. In addition, the NFLPA negotiates on behalf of the players to protect their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

  • Question:

    How do I contact a specific team to get additional information?

    Contact the following organizations for information on a specific team:

    • National Football League
      280 Park Avenue
      New York, NY 10017
      212-450-2000
    • National Football League Players Association
      2021 L Street, N.W. Suite 600
      Washington, DC 20036
      800-372-2000
      202-463-2200
  • Question:

    What is a financial advisor?

    A financial advisor is an expert in the field of finance, taxes, investments and law.

  • Question:

    Can I obtain disability insurance while in college?

    Individuals who qualify for disability insurance are those who realistically anticipate receiving a substantial amount of money as professional athletes due to their present market value as future professionals.

  • Question:

    What should I consider when reviewing a contract?

    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.

  • Question:

    Am I allowed to make an oral or written agreement with an agent or any individual based on my athletic ability and still maintain my amateur status?

    No. You may not agree, orally or in writing, to be represented by an agent until after your eligibility has ended, including your team's postseason competition.  

    An individual will lose amateur status if he/she makes an oral or written agreement to be represented by an agent or any individual based on his/her athletic ability.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

    It is not recommended that you sign a power of attorney over to the agent, since the agent can then spend your money without your knowledge.

  • Question:

    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. 

    To check your state's agent laws select the following: Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA)

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    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.

  • Question:

    You should consider the following criteria when selecting an agent:

    1. Determine what services you will need from an agent and the reasonable cost for each service.
    2. Consider an agent's educational background, training and work experience. Verify the credentials of any agent.
    3. Determine the agent's reputation. Check with the players associations, other players, clients and former clients.
    4. Look for an agent who will devote time to your interests.
    5. Involve your family in the decision-making process, and make sure you feel comfortable and can trust the agent.
    6. Determine if the agent is informed. An agent must be familiar with the constitution and bylaws of the particular professional league they are dealing with, as well as the standard players' contract.

    Select the following for a list of questions to assist you when interviewing agents: Questions to Ask Agents

  • Question:

    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.


Contact Info

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us.
Sample

Neil S. Schwartz

Email: neilsschwartz@gmail.com

Jonathan Feinsod

Email: jonathan@sffootball.net

Players Association

The union for professional football players in the NFL.
NFLPA

NFL Players Association (NFLPA)

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests.