AP Source: NFLPA discusses discipline with agents

NFL players union head DeMaurice Smith held a conference call

Tuesday with agents to discuss possibly changing the certification

process and how agents are disciplined for violating rules.

Several people familiar with the call told The Associated Press

that Smith expressed interest in reviewing how agents are approved

by the NFLPA, and what the qualifications should be to become a pro

football agent. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because

they were not authorized to discuss the call.

The call came 11 days after agent Gary Wichard was suspended for

nine months by the union for his role in a recruiting scandal

involving the University of North Carolina.

Wichard, an agent since 1980, was suspended for his involvement

with Marvin Austin, a former Tar Heels player who was dismissed

from the team in October.

In its ruling, the NFLPA said the California-based Wichard is

suspended beginning Dec. 1, ”for having impermissible

communication with Austin at a time Austin was not eligible for the

NFL draft under the NFL/NFLPA Collective Bargaining


The union also revoked the agent certification of Southern

California undergrad Teague Egan, who gave a ride across campus to

tailback Dillon Baxter, a violation of NCAA rules.

During Tuesday’s conference call, Smith also updated the agents

on the NFLPA’s potential decertification as a union to prevent a

lockout by the owners. Players on every team voted on approving

decertification earlier this season.

The collective bargaining agreement agreed on in 2006 expires in

March after the owners opted out of it in 2008. Decertification

would give the union a chance to sue under antitrust laws if there

is a lockout.

Without decertification, the union would have to wait six months

to file a suit after the collective bargaining agreement