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University of Southern California’s Agent Summit

Last Tuesday, the University of Southern California hosted an “Agent Awareness, Education and Eligibility Summit.”  The following officials were in attendance:

  • Jimmy Sexton – Co-Founder, SportsTrust Advisors
  • Tom Condon – Football Agent, CAA
  • Rick Smith – Agent, Priority Sports
  • Mark Levin – Director of Salary Cap and Agent Administration, NFLPA
  • Ray Anderson – VP of Football Operations, NFL
  • Julie Roe Lach – VP Enforcement, NCAA
  • Rachel Newman Baker – Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities, NCAA
  • Stacey Osburn – Associate Director of Public and Media Relations, NCAA
  • Mike Slive – SEC Commisioner
  • Larry Scott – Pac-10 Conference Commissioner
  • Multiple Pac-10 Athletic Directors
  • Pat Haden – Athletic Director, USC
  • Dave Roberts – VP Athletic Compliance, USC

I believe the most forward thinking idea proposed by Haden at the Summit was to hire a recent graduate “to act as an ombudsman who can be a counselor and be viewed as independent.”  If Haden and other Athletic Directors want this particular plan to be effective, they will have to choose someone for each campus who is close enough with the players to gain access when appropriate, but cannot be afraid to report violations.  Furthermore, I think the last thing this person would provide is newfound trust between student-athletes and school administrators.  How can a department claim that someone it employs is also independent?  Instead, the new ombudsman may further the divide and cause student-athletes to become more wary of administrators’ motives.  However, I agree that something must be done to curb violations, and this particular idea may be a good starting point.  Haden also talked a bit about using “extenders.”

Dave Roberts also talked about the use of “extenders” to help educate players.  And he recognizes that the education needs to occur at a very early stage.

Talk is great.  Actions are better.

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.