Often I am asked to explain “why do Advisers have to be paid?” The most simple answer is the common sense answer; “Would you work for free?”
From the NCAA, “If a prospective student-athlete uses the services of an adviser, he must compensate that adviser equal to the services provided.”
Years ago, hockey agents would double as advisers. Some still do, but the smart ones don’t. The NCAA used to turn a blind eye to Agents doubling as Advisers simply because it was hard to regulate or prove any misconduct. That is no longer the case when the NCAA sends the athlete or the adviser an “audit” type document or questionnaire.
Lets be clear on one thing; Advisers are required to be paid. If you are not paying your Adviser fair market value for his services you can lose your NCAA eligibility. Fair Market Value is determined by what is seen as a reasonable fee performed for services rendered.
How is Fair Market Value defined? It is defined as a reasonable hourly rate for a professional service. This means something like $10 an hour is not reasonable. An Adviser is in theory, and hopefully in practice, as educated and trained as a professional as someone requiring professional licensing. This can also be based upon a measure of industry experience.
If an adviser will work for $500 a year, or $2000 a year, you don’t have a very experienced or educated adviser. Good advisers like good doctors and good lawyers will provide small list of clients for you to check references on and you will pay a Fair Market Value for their service. A good adviser will run between $2500 and $4000 per year.
Fair Market Value is not, a one time, or lifetime fee. This “one time fee” is a complete violation of the most basic NCAA principals, and is in practice no different than the adviser who charges nothing.
IF Johnny pays a one time fee of $2000 to his adviser as a 15 year old, and Stevie pays a one time fee of $2000 to the same adviser as a 20 year old, Johnny is receiving an improper financial benefit. You cant receive services for five years at one price while another person pays the same and only receives the same services for one year.
Under the “one time fee” theory, you could pay your electric bill once, and no matter how long you run the air conditioning, or how many heat waves you have, you would never pay another bill. IF it sounds too good to be true, it is to good to be true.
All Advisers must be paid annually and every player must pay the same exact amount. There is no wiggle room, there is no negotiating.
You CAN NOT pay an adviser a monthly fee. If you are paying by the month, your adviser is then by NCAA definition an AGENT working for future earnings. Get caught and your career is over.
Advisers CAN NOT be COACHES currently working as a COACH. It is a conflict of interest.
It is very important to remember that an Adviser is a professional. He will have training, understand rules, and will undergo continuing education in order to stay on top of the rules and provide the newest information to his clients. Just because someone claiming to be an adviser played hockey at one level or another, it does not mean they know how to help another player get to where they want to go.
I know far to many former NHL players who will tell you honestly that they wouldn’t have any idea how to get a player to the NHL today or to NCAA hockey. Just because someone holding themselves out as an adviser was there, doesn’t mean they know how to get you there.
It is important to remember your adviser can only help create opportunity. He can not change the world for you. A good adviser can not take an average player and make him an NHL player.
A good adviser does not send clients chasing the camp circuit all summer. An Adviser has a fiduciary responsibility to his client as well. If your adviser doesn’t understand what that means you might want to ask for your money back now.
Watch out for the Pyramid Scheme. That’s the one where the “bird dog” pays a fee to the adviser to use the advisers name. That’s the guy who is just starting out and has no experience. This is the guy who will leave you high and dry, and the “Top Adviser” will claim he doesn’t know who you are when you stop hearing from the original guy.
The contract. Yes, there better be a contract. And if there isn’t, you better not pay them. If there isn’t, then there is something to hide. Because the NCAA will ask for a copy of everything your “Adviser” has and has done for you if there is ever a question.
Now, these are just the very basics when it comes to considering an adviser. The VERY basics. And the only reason I have presented them today is in the hope of answering many questions I get via email each day.
If you have more specific questions, I am happy to answer them via email. These are just the basics.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser [email protected]