I’ll be curious to see if this has any legs.
What is being called the first-ever legally binding contract between a college prospect and his school will be unveiled Wednesday at the NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia.
The College Athletic Protection Agreement would make negotiable such items as medical treatment/insurance beyond an athlete’s eligibility and an automatic release from a scholarship should a player want to transfer.
The agreement states that the protections and benefits secured by such a contract would be “worth over $100,000 beyond a minimum scholarships without breaking NCAA rules.”
“We think this will change things,” said Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association. “This will be a good place to start. It opens Pandora’s Box.”
Huma’s nonprofit organization has advocated for players’ rights and is behind development of the contract. He says the NCPA has thoroughly vetted the document with legal and NCAA experts.
Assuming for the sake of argument the agreement is enforceable, the question becomes what coach would be willing to risk signing one. There’s a lot to swallow, loss of control-wise.
- A school could be bound to an all-encompassing transfer release for a prospect before enrollment. The document asks if an institution “agrees” or “does not agree” “to comply with any request for transfer” and “to not restrict the ability” of a player to transfer to any other school.
- A school could not “cancel, reduce or fail to renew financial aid … due to injury or athletic performance.”
- A player could negotiate the cost of a remaining scholarship to complete a degree at some point in the future should he/she leave early for a professional draft.
Still, you’d have to think some five-star recruit might be worth it.
Nevius, a former NCAA associate director of enforcement, has been advising the NCPA on the viability of the contract.
“This has a chance to be successful if you find a coach or a school who is interested in bringing in a top prospect,” Nevius said. “… At that point, you might see some movement … Depending on stature of the athlete, it could have a big impact on its first use.”
Whether that would open the floodgates or not is hard to determine. I thought Roquan Smith’s decision not to sign an NLI would have an impact, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case to date.
What might be most valuable about Huma’s agreement is the education it would provide to recruits and their families as to what the schools actually offer, even if the schools they’re looking at won’t sign one.
“I think the biggest impact of the document could be it educates athletes and families about benefits to them that are not uniformly provided,” said Tim Nevius, a former NCAA enforcement official. “The ultimate benefit could be education, even if no one utilizes the document.”
When you are prohibited from retaining a representative to help negotiate through the process, any honest help you can get ought to be a positive. Maybe this turns out to be a case where doing it for the kids starts with the kids themselves.