Feb
01

My Jerry Maguire-esque Moment?

On December 31, 2007, I became formally licensed as an athlete agent (commonly referred to as “sports agent”) by my home state of Florida.  The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations provided me Athlete Agent License #721 in return for my payment of an initial fee in excess of $1,300.  Since that point in time, I have been paying additional fees (on time) to retain my license to practice as a sports agent.  I have until May 31, 2012 to send in a fee to keep my license active.  I will not be submitting that fee, and have chosen to let my license expire.

The initial name of Sports Agent Blog was, “I Want to be a Sports Agent.”  On December 31, 2005, when the first post on this website was published, I was a Junior at the University of Florida and was determined to some day become an agent, representing a variety of athletes.  I can proudly say that I accomplished my goal and helped many athletes in the capacity of “agent” since forming my own company in 2007.  Years later, I am also able to confirm to myself that being a “sports agent” is not for me.

My decision will allow me to expand my current offerings and enter into new lines of business that excite and inspire me.  First of all, Sports Agent Blog will continue to exist and will be updated with the same frequency.  In fact, my relinquishing of the title of “sports agent” should permit further growth of Sports Agent Blog, as many practicing sports agents who currently believe that I am conflicted by running this site in conjunction with representing athletes may put such fears aside.  I look forward to contributing to this website from a completely non-biased position.  In addition to Sports Agent Blog, I occasionally post legal related articles on ChangeLegal.com (mostly related to intellectual property) and very recently created Sport-in-Law, which I believe has major potential to be the go-to website for everything “Sports Law.”

I have been practicing law for roughly a year-and-a-half and have focused my efforts on intellectual property and other types of civil litigation in addition to having a nice sized practice dealing with transactional work.  A majority of my files involve either entertainment, music, or sports related matters.  Recently, I have been working with a handful of sports agencies as their general counsel, assisting them with contract drafting/review and litigation.  With my knowledge of sports law coupled with my experiences in the world of sports agency, I believe I have a unique ability to assist agencies in the aforementioned areas in addition to salary arbitration, sport-specific grievances, and other related matters.  Removing the stigma that is attached to being a sports agent while trying to grow my practice in these areas will hopefully allow my practice to reach entirely new levels.

And then there is my entrepreneurial spirit.  As has been reported by SportsBusiness Journal, my colleague, Jason Belzer, and I recently started a company named Collegiate Sports Advisors.  We have been fortunate to have early success in our efforts, but believe that there is still a lot of untapped potential.  I want to be able to continue to think outside of the box about new and innovative opportunities, whether inside or outside of sport.  I also plan to continue to teach at Indiana University Bloomington in Fall 2012, and perhaps beyond.

What about Dynasty?  The company I founded in April 2007 will continue to exist, but will not be a “sports agency.”  In fact, it is no longer incorporated as DYNASTY ATHLETE REPRESENTATION, LLC.  I have submitted paperwork to change the entity to DYNASTY DEALINGS, LLC.  The agents working for Dynasty will continue to represent their athlete clients so long as the athletes confirm their desire to have such individuals as their official representatives.  For instance, Bryan Swalley will remain as the agent for many of Dynasty’s existing baseball player clients.  And I will still work with many athletes and entertainers, but as an attorney and/or consultant, and not as an agent.

So what am I?  I am not a sports agent.  I am an attorney, consultant, professor, journalist, and entrepreneur.  I am thrilled to make this announcement and I look forward to the future.

  • Saltman

    fascinating!

  • J. Carlyle

    Best of luck to you Darren.  I know this path and thought process well…

  • A. Reeser

    Darren,

    I have been following your post for about a year now.  You do a great job at providing insight, fascinating, and the latest info for aspiring and current sports agents.  Whatever you do you will excel at it, I wish you the best of luck.

    A. Reeser

  • http://twitter.com/Joe_Antwi Joe Antwi

    Good for you Darren! :-)

  • Jim Masteralexis

    I read your web site often and it is very well done.  Good luck and I think you have made a wise choice.  Keep up the GREAT work.

    Jim Masteralexis

  • http://twitter.com/Lockout_Lowdown Daniel J. Friedman

    Mazal Tov Darren!  I have enjoyed following you on your journey and look forward to what else you have in store.  If you don’t mind sharing, was any part of your decision based on legal ethics concerns?  In reviewing the model rules for professional conduct, I have come across places where the ability to serve effectively as an agent and legal ethics tend to clash and make it impossible to be a “Lawyer-Agent” (I.e. non-soliciting rules, etc.). What is your opinion? I would imagine being general counsel to agencies will help alleviate concerns. 
    Also, I was wondering if you would mind discussing your thoughts on if and how the various players associations should regulate agents?  For example, I commend you for registering as an Agent in Florida, but I would imagine there are a great number of agents out there who have not registered with a state, yet recruit “amateur” talent.  Even though there are many states out there with laws on the book, few expend resources to regulate or prosecute unregistered agents.  Should this fall to the players’ associations?  NCAA?  More resources from the States?  Thanks for your time.

    • http://www.darrenheitner.com Darren Heitner

      Legal ethical concerns did exist. As I mentioned, I felt that there were either apparent or soon-to-be arising conflicts of interest. As an attorney, I must keep such potential conflicts in mind and do my best to prevent them from existing. Solicitation concerns should be an issue for attorney-agents who actively recruit. I was never much of a recruiter. In my “perfect world,” the state and federal laws concerning sports agents would cease to exist, and the players associations would effectively regulate the profession.

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  • http://www.myrewebsite/philsimms Phil Simms

    Hi Darren,

    I do NOT doubt for one minute that you will be successful as a “Non Sports Agent”. I appreciate your candor and your willingness to expose your true desires
    ….I wish you much success my friend !!!

  • Josh Pittell

    Darren,

    Best of luck on your switch in career paths so to speak.  I have been following your site for the past three years, and you’re nothing short of incredible with all of your accomplishments!  I certainly do not underestimate your ability to grow Collegiate Sports Advisors while continuing to advance your role as an “attorney, consultant, professor, journalist, and entrepreneur.”  I wish you nothing but the best.

    Josh Pittell