Headline Recruiting Sports Agents

It Keeps Coming Back To Education

I represent athletes, but first and foremost, I consider myself an Educator.  They really run hand-in-hand, though.  I make sure to provide all of my clients up-to-date, relevant information that will help them succeed in life.  I do the same for athletes who are not yet my clients, but whom I may be advising before they “go pro.”  There are many other people out there who do the same.  Unfortunately, there are also many people who benefit and profit from keeping athletes ignorant to the specifics of sports business and rely on relationships in order to build a “successful” practice.

Earlier this week, Darren Rovell wrote a post on CNBC that has been making waves throughout the blogosphere and Twitter.  The post, titled, Time For A New Jerry Maguire?, says that the movie is outdated.  Rovell believes that many agents no longer make athletes’ parents the focal point of their recruiting, and instead, go through intermediaries who often do not have athletes’ best interests in mind.  Oftentimes, those intermediaries have their own agendas and will come to the agents with hands open, expecting their own payday.

Rovell’s post is partly inspired by Dwight Howard’s recent decision to drop his agent (Aaron Goodwin) in favor of most likely having his extended family/friends manage his future contractual negotiations.  Time will tell whether that was an idiotic move on Howard’s part or not.

I would love for Rovell’s Jerry Maguire II to come out.  Because it would educate the athletes who watch it.  I have said it before (including yesterday on Twitter) and I will say it again – the only answer I see is the education of athletes.  No, I do not mean making players stay in college past one year before going pro, and I am definitely not advocating that we create some Professional Sports Business major for athletes.  I do think that education has to start in college, however.  While baseball and hockey players can skip college and go straight to the pros, basketball and football players don’t have that luxury.  And truthfully, where most of the problem lies, is with those two sports.

So what can be done?  It needs to start with the NCAA and then trickle down to every Compliance Office at every NCAA school.  I don’t care if it is the head coach of each college team, the Compliance Officer him/herself, or even a private consulting company like Synrgy Sports that is brought in to spoon feed student-athletes this important information that will affect the rest of their lives.  It cannot happen in the normal class setting; it has to happen when their attention is captured.  They need to read stories like this and this so that they understand that in the real world runners and AAU coaches are paid to connect them with agents.  Student-athletes need to feel secure that they can make the decision on their own, or with the help of people who truly understand their wants and needs – not some “friend” who is more in it for himself than anyone else.  They also need to realize that there are “bad agents” out there who will steal from them and also try handing over money/gifts that may be against NCAA/state/federal rules and laws.

We know about the problems.  Let’s talk about solutions.  And let’s start implementing them on a national level.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

5 replies on “It Keeps Coming Back To Education”

Eh. I wouldn’t count on the NCAA to do anything with the student-athletes’ interests as the #1 priority. If it had some financial benefit to the NCAA or its members schools, then maybe it would do something like that.

The NCAA and head coaches are only out for themselves. They have their best interest in mind not the players. AAU coaches, friends, family friends, etc may have been the only person a player could have counted during his teen years. For a player to his put trust in an AAU coach or best friend, is no different than a middle class white baseball player putting his trust in his father.

I have worked as a “gatekeeper” for many people and in various contract settings, mostly dealing with who will represent the athlete as their “legal agent”. It is always my obligation to my client to place his interests first, his or her aspirations, needs, education, family, background, sophistication, people skills, risk factors, alternate work, investment goals and on and on must be considered prior to hiring a representative. We review materials, advertising, screen calls for the client and family, educate and discuss the matter at hand with both the client and his family, discsuss education and early withdrawal from school, so many factors must be considered before we interview and aid in the selection of someone to represent our client. We chanrge from nothing to an hourly. My education insludes a BS, MS and JD completing my LLM in Taxation . With more than 35 years of experience I and my associates are adequately prepaired to offer this counse. There needs to be more cooperation with the universities and colleges where most of these athletes have few if any resources to assist in this critical assessment process.

Comments are closed.