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Athletic Resource Management and ProFiles Sports Plans to Merge Operations

If possible, I always like to break big news on a Monday.  A lot of people are scouring the news at the beginning of the week, and it gives people the entire week to share it with others.  That’s why I feel that the news of the Athletic Resource Management (ARM) and ProFiles Sports, Inc. merger plans did not get as much publicity as it deserved.  The press release was delivered to the media on Thursday, November 18, which only gave me enough time to make a mention to it on our Shabbat Shalom: Friday Wrap-Up.  But it really needs to be recognized for its importance.  After all, the merger will combine some of the best athletes and coaches under one representation roof.

The new company will be called SportsTrust Advisors.  It will have offices in Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.  Here are just a few names that SportsTrust will represent: Matt Cain, Lane Kiffin, Rex Ryan, Nick Saban, Philip Rivers, Jason Witten, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Urlacher, and DeMarcus Ware.  There will be more than 100 football players and over 40 coaches all represented by this new company.  Has Rosenhaus, CAA Football, and Todd France met its match?  And is there any company that rivals its status as being the preeminent coaches agency?

With so many football players and coaches managed by the same company, how can all potential conflicts of interest be avoided?  One thing to consider is the National Basketball Players Association’s rule against representing professional players and coaches.  What if the NFL Players Association decides to adopt a similar rule?  If it is limited to preventing an individual agent from representing a professional player and a coach, then SportsTrust Advisors would probably be able to get around the restriction based on its sheer number of employees who could interchange names on representation agreements.  However, if the restriction prevented any one company from representing both classes of professionals, it could sure make this merger rather questionable in the future.

Another issue to consider is how Morgan Keegan will factor into this merger.  Morgan Keegan Financials Inc. purchased Athletic Resource Management, Inc. in 1995.  ARM became financially connected to Morgan Keegan, and Morgan Keegan became a recommended place for ARM clients.   Morgan Keegan has been, and continues to be, sued by its clients for funds that were supposed to be long term safe retirement funds, when in reality, they were placed in very high risk security funds.  This affected many of ARM’s clients.  Amongst those affected by these actions are Donte Stallworth, Gibril Wilson, Horace Grant, Jerome Woods and many more.  Woods and his wife Dana received $950,000 in a case against Morgan Keegan for losing nearly all of Woods’ money he placed with Morgan Keegan for retirement.   Horace Grant received a $1.45 million judgment.

In the meantime, the merger joins two of the larger names in the industry, Jimmy Sexton and Pay Dye, Jr., and their immense client lists.  Good luck to the gentlemen involved.

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.