NFL Players Association votes to repeal junior rule for agents

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The NFL players' union has voted to repeal a rule that prohibited certified agents from having contact with college players until the student-athletes have been out of high school for three years.

NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis said Tuesday that player representatives from each team voted to eliminate the so-called "junior rule" last weekend.

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The rule was passed in 2007 by the NFLPA, not long after it was discovered that Reggie Bush and his family received cash and gifts from fledgling marketing agents before his junior year at Southern California. The idea was to limit agents' access to college players who were not eligible to enter the draft. College players must be three years removed from high school to be draft eligible.

Francis said "recruiters" or "runners" working for agents still cannot speak with college players at any time. He says only certified contract advisers can speak with players before their junior season.

Proponents of repealing the rule say that it keeps legitimate agents who can be better monitored away from underclassmen, while doing nothing to prevent those who have not been certified by the union from getting access.

"Tackling the complex issue of improper agent activity in college sports requires commitment from several groups to provide effective education and enforcement," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Tuesday. "For this reason, we appreciate the NFLPA continuing to examine how best to address inappropriate contact from third parties with student-athletes, while also holding agents and runners accountable for unscrupulous activity."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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