Headline Sports Agents

Athlete Representatives Association Founder Takes Heat, Addresses Concerns

On May 7, 2012, I wrote about a brand new organization called the “National Association of Sports Agents & Athlete Representatives (NASAAR).”  The brainchild of Andrew Bondarowicz, Esq., Founder and President of Aregatta Group, NASAAR will be geared toward representing the interests of sports agents and others engaged in the representation of professional athletes.

Bondarowicz followed up his announcement of NASAAR with an update addressing some frequently asked questions about the forthcoming Association.  And then yesterday, out of the blue, Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal wrote a 500+ word article that was little more than an attempt to discredit Bondarowicz for his failure to disclose his former association with two professional (non-NFL) football teams to the NFLPA and potential future members of NASAAR.  Multiple agents who attended the recent Sports Lawyers Association annual conference in San Diego have stated off-record that Mullen was actively digging for dirt on Bondarowicz and NASAAR at the event.

Meanwhile, Bondarowicz is pushing forward with his effort to launch NASAAR on July 1, 2012.  Yesterday, he sent out a new email addressing some concerns that have arisen since the publishing of his FAQ.  The very first concern that Bondarowicz responded to was one that I considered in my latest post covering NASAAR.

With NASAAR targeting an audience that includes sports agents, contract advisors, financial advisors, trainers, marketing agents, etc., is NASAAR’s target membership base too broad to be successful?

This was a very good question and something that has been discussed with numerous people in the business prior to making any decisions on the target audience for membership. The answer repeatedly proved to be “no.” A broad base was seen as a strong asset to an organization such as NASAAR for multiple reasons, including these three major considerations:

  1. Networking: One of the purposes of a trade association is to create networking opportunities that enhance one’s business. By bringing together complimentary services, it provides an opportunity for members of the sports representation community to network with each other. As an agent, you may be looking to grow your business through a merger with another agent or looking to add additional services to your client service offerings and NASAAR will provide another opportunity to find appropriate partners. As a financial advisor, you may be looking to meet agents, sports accountants, insurance professionals that can help you land new clients and build your assets under management. Therefore, a brought membership base fosters a more beneficial environment for expanding business opportunities. Some of my closest contacts in the business have come from broad based events and there are simply too few opportunities to take advantage of.
  2. Education: The best way to learn new things is to hear from others with knowledge in those subject areas. Many agents are still in the dark on basic concepts that affect their clients. Are you up to date on tax laws affecting your client? What about immigration issues for foreign-born players or intellectual property issues affecting personal branding? How should a player-client handle the financial challenges of the current market? How should you handle a crisis situation? What better way to build your contact base than presenting a workshop at a NASAAR conference? While there is a great deal of competition in the industry, there still is enough room for collaboration and growth.
  3. Regulatory: Many of the state agent laws have a broad definition of “agent.” For example, California’s current law (amended January 1, 2012) actually names other professionals such as financial advisors, doctors, etc. with the statute. For agents, a common complaint has been that other agents have done an end-run around regulation by using financial advisors, trainers, marketing agents, etc. as their recruiters. As other state laws are amended, it is beneficial to the industry to have a comprehensive discussion on the right scope of the agent laws and solicit the opinions of a diverse group in formulating a position.

Do you think Bondarowicz does a good job justifying the broad scope and membership base of the future organization?  What other questions or concerns, if any, do you have about NASAAR and/or its founding member?

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.