An Institute For Athletes
Blake Baratz is a young guy (only 29-years-old), but already has a good amount of experience as an NFLPA certified advisor. Since becoming certified with the union, Baratz has worked at Impact Sports, a representation firm with its principal office in Boca Raton, FL. Baratz was working on behalf of Impact Sports from across the country, in California, where his specialty was in the recruitment of Big 10 players (3 signed clients being from the University of Wisconsin).
Recently, Baratz left Impact Sports to start up his own firm: The Institute for Athletes. His clients at Impact Sports will remain co-represented by Baratz and his former employers, but Baratz should not have a tough time recruiting new clients to his “Institute”. Jack Scharf has been hired by Impact Sports to fill the void left by Baratz’s departure. Scharf’s clients include Ryan Torain, Jerricho Cotchery, Marquis Cooper, and Marko Mitchell.
You can make jokes about the name of Baratz’s new entity, but I actually like it. It coincides with the mission of his practice, which is to ensure that more NFL players are educated. On his LinkedIn profile, Baratz notes that:
The most glaring area of need for improvement is simply education. 78% of all NFL players are either leaving the game broke, or broke within 3 years of their last NFL game.
I really like his approach. At Dynasty, we stress family and innovation as our main selling points. Baratz has chosen education as his. It does not mean that we don’t educate our clients or that Baratz does not use innovative techniques to advance his players, but at least he has distinguished his agency from the mainstream agency that promotes the same package of services as the rest. Baratz has also done a fantastic job surrounding himself with a lot of talent in his new start-up. As reported by the StarTribune.com,
His brain trust includes Jeff Diamond, the former Vikings executive and Tennessee Titans president; actor Jaleel White, famous for the role of Steve Urkel on “Family Matters”; and a group of financial advisers, talent evaluators and former players.
Not sure what Jaleel White brings to the table other than a quality “Did I do that?” when things go wrong. Bobby Engram, Will Allen, and Abdul Hodge, also sat in on meetings to help Baratz’s new firm get some legs to stand on. Good luck to Baratz, another young agent who has a mission and will not let the cheerleaders on the sidelines prevent him from accomplishing his dreams.