Recently, Sports Agent Blog had the opportunity to have a discussion with Jake Murphy, an up and coming sports agent who decided to forge his own path in the ultra-competitive representation industry.
Murphy is a Euless, Texas-native, graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Sports Management. After having the opportunity to research the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement during his studies, he developed an interest in continuing his education at the University of Florida’s Sports Management program with a specialization in Sports Law. Additionally, he pursued an online certification from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law specializing in Entertainment Law.
Upon graduation in December, Murphy will take the NFLPA’s agent certification exam in January 2020 as a 23-year-old looking to break into the industry. Our conversation with him can be seen below.
SAB: What made you want to start your own agency instead of pursuing opportunities at an already-established organization?
Jake Murphy: I’ve always been under the impression that there is a certain purity to the entrepreneurial route. I think so much more pride can be attributed to creating your own empire, rather than building upon a pre-existing one. When I came up with the concept of Murphy Sports Group, LLC., the fact that I could connect my name with it meant the world to me. I have so much respect for the firms and individuals who are already established in sports representation. However, if I were able to undertake a venture that my family would be attached to, that is all the justification I need to start my own agency and give it my best shot against all the competition. I love the fact that I have a comprehensive ownership in my personal successes or failures.
SAB: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and hurdle you have overcome thus far?
JM: As far as overcoming hurdles, I think the easy answer would be the education that I pursued. As school has come to an end, I’ve truly enjoyed it because I got to study sports and entertainment. That almost sounds too good to be true. But in hindsight, it truly was a rigorous route that I pursued, and I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of it. Regarding the greatest challenge, I would also have to call it my greatest blessing. My family lost my mother to cancer in 2002. I can go into extreme length at how difficult that was at only six years old, but I am beyond fortunate to say that I’ve lived the life I have only 17 years later. I have had the most incredible loving family atmosphere surrounding my life. it was devastating for my entire family, but I truly grateful for my father and brother and the household I grew up in. My family has a long line of excellence in sports, and that is where my love for it stems from. But it didn’t stop there. The community that I grew up in truly validated the concept of “it takes a village.” So many beautiful people treated me like family without hesitation. Making them proud is just as important to me as making my own family proud. To this day, my family has grown immensely beyond blood relation. They turned a devastating event into the most beautiful life I could have asked for.
SAB: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition in an ultra competitive industry?
JM: One of the things that will separate me from all of the other agents pursuing an athletes signature is my age. I am trying to accomplish this feat at a young age, and I truly believe that will stand out to players. They will find me as someone who can relate to their life situation as a young person entering the daunting industry of professional sports. That is something that very few agents can claim.
SAB: How have your background and educational experience set you up for success?
JM: My education is one of the essential reasons I am able to pursue this career. I had to do a lot of my own research on what skills successful agents out to possess and I came to the conclusion that a law-based program would train me best to garner those skills. The University of Florida emphasized sports law and the University of Southern California emphasized entertainment law. Both of these programs that I participated in gave me a holistic approach of how to best serve my future clients. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for these programs and the Universities that I have so much pride in.
SAB: For those interested in pursuing a similar path, what is the best piece of career advice you can offer?
JM: You have to be willing to work for free. I have worked at this for many years at the POSSIBILITY of becoming certified. There was never any guarantee that I would become NFLPA certified, but I had faith in myself. Not only that but, above all, I have the best support system around me who give every reason to keep working at it. I have worked for myself for three years, for free, with no possibility of generating profits during that pre-certification timeframe. Now that it is all coming to fruition, it was absolutely worth it. One of my greatest mentors once told me that I’ll have “made it” when everyone else’s concept of excellence becomes my own personal standard. Expecting highly of yourself is a must. Remember that your goals should only be lofty to other people. Some may consider attempting to become NFLA certified at 23 is lofty. However, I had supreme confidence in myself, and that become my norm.
SAB: Looking ahead to the second half of 2019, how do you plan to continue and set yourself up for future success?
JM: NFLPA Prospective Agent Applications open in January 2020, but I have been working for three years now in preparation for certification. Myself, along with a wonderful cohort in our Murphy Sports Group Internship Program, have been intensely scouting College Football players who would be draft eligible at the time I achieve certification. We will continue this during the 2019-20 college football season. This exhaustive and intense scouting process is something else that will make Murphy Sports that much more attractive to a potential client. It is a year-round endeavor and we emphasize the holistic approach to these players as overall people, not just elite athletes. This year is incredibly important because the next crop of athletes are about to be exposed to the college football world. These are kids that we have watched since high school, and now they have the opportunity to showcase themselves in a more competitive collegiate level. We can’t wait to observe and highlight our targets for our first year of certification.
SAB: How can our readers follow you and stay up-to-date on your company news?
JM: Please follow along as we will be documenting the entire journey toward our January 2020 application. Feel free to follow us on all social media platforms @murphysportsgroup and email Jake@MurphySportsGroup.com with any and all inquiries. All website and project announcements will be made via social media.