Essay On Becoming A Sports Agent

As sports has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, there has been an explosion in the

number of lawyers who specialize in sports law. There has been an understandably

significant increase in the number of persons desiring to represent professional athletes.

This increase can be explained by the high-profile status of sports and the tremendous

salaries of professional athletes.

The concept of a sports agent representing professional or amateur athletes is a

relatively recent phenomenon. As recently as twenty years ago, few athletes employed

sports agents. Instead athletes would rely on lawyers or family to negotiate their contracts.

However, since the late 1960's and early 1970's, sports agent representation of athletes has

greatly expanded due to the large amounts of money athletes can make and their in ability

to negotiate contracts.

A college degree is not absolutely necessary to be a sports agent. Many successful

agents skipped college to persue their career. However, a college education does aide in

getting clients. A sports law degree is offered at some law schools to those who want to

specialize in being a sports agent. A prospective agent may also have a sports

administration degree and contacts to help him begin his career. A frequently asked

question is how does a lawyer become involved in the field of sports law and athlete

representation. A variety of firm or individual contacts may offer avenues into the field.

Connections arise from a number of sources, including representing parents of players,

representing unions and representing team doctors. Agents may also represent persons

holding an equity interest in the ownership of a team. An opportunity for employment

also exists as part of a college or professional sports administration.

The expansion of sports agents can be attributed to a combination of social

and economic developments. First, increased popularity of sports has resulted in greater

media coverage of athletic events. As a result, advertising and other commercial activities

have generated increased revenues for professional sports teams and, consequently,

demands from athletes for a portion of this revenue. Second, competition for an athlete's

services from new competitive sports leagues has provided athletes with greater

bargaining power and leverage when negotiating their salaries. Third, through the process

of free agency, athletes have the freedom to leave the sports team that originally selected

them and sign with another team. Because athletes generally do not have the training or

experience to deal with these social and economic developments, many athletes hire sports

agents to draft and negotiate their contracts with professional sports teams, to plan

financial and endorsement endeavors, and to interpret collective bargaining agreements.

The two main duties of a sports agent are recruitment and contract negotiation. A

common method of obtaining clients is by using personal contacts, friends and other

athletes to meet professional athletes. The more sports figures you know, meet and

represent, the better the chance of engaging some as clients. Knowing college coaches is

an obviously beneficial way to obtain clients. Success and good publicity also broaden

avenues of opportunity for sports lawyers.

The negotiation of contracts is just a small part of what it is that sports agent do.

Once a contract negotiation is up you won't do another contract for that person with that

entity for another 7 years sometimes. What are you suppose to do then? What you do is

"personal management." Make sure your athlete is prepared for today, tomorrow, and 5

years from now. Many people do not understand exactly what a sports agent does. Here

is a break down of the duties of a sports agent:


o An all inclusive workout program; providing the best trainers available.

o Coordinating of individual workouts

o Selection of post-season bowl games

o Discussions with interested team personnel

o Draft positioning; tryouts with teams; recruiting out of college athletes

o Disability insurance


Representation of all grievances, hearings, or appeals

Collective bargaining agreements, in the context of professional sports, are contracts

between management and the players' union which govern the working relationship

between the two parties and the players. These agreements contain a surplus of rules,

regulations and contract provisions.

Contract negotiation. There are three important characteristics which are shared by

successful negotiators. First, the representative must be completely informed about the

negotiations. Second, the representative must maintain the client's needs and

objectives. Third, the representative must choose an effective strategy and negotiate

diligently to achieve the client's goals.

Assistance with termination and severance pay

Counseling; With so much attention being paid to their athletic abilities very little time

is spent with the individual person who is "inside" the athlete. There are various issues

that athletes may face that they need an empathetic ear for. This can go from family

issues, to financial, to team problems, or just plain " I need someone to talk to"


Assistance in collecting career-ending/disability insurance proceeds

Workers Compensation claims

Arranging for medical assistance and second opinions from the foremost specialists in

all of sports. Including surgeons and physical therapists.


Off-season employment, if desired

Planning for post-athletic career; coaching; broadcasting; color analyst

Contacts with established individuals and companies in a desired field


Press releases; promoting the player

Television and radio exposure; writing or planning interview dialogue

Arranging local and national interviews

Retaining of specialists when needed or required



Trading cards


Autograph signings

Endorsements with national and regional companies

Other marketing agreements

Automobile arrangements


Reviewing and advising on home, automobile and other purchases

Review legal documents

Consultation on all legal matters

Arranging for and consultation with outside counsel when necessary

Negotiating and drafting endorsement contracts

Assisting with family law matters, wills, and estate planning


Preparing all federal, state and local tax returns by an independent accounting firm,

whose sole purpose is tax and accounting issues

Using a tax planner so that clients can anticipate tax consequences of each investment

Advising the client and club during the year of the proper amount to be withheld from

each check so that the client does not have to make a significant payment at tax time


Banking and bookkeeping services

Assistance in selecting financial planners

Developing a budget

A list of financial firms that have worked with our clients in the past or ones that we


A working relationship with your family financial planner or any financial planner or

advisor of your choice


Developing and exploring opportunities with local and national networks

Negotiating and finalizing details of positions

Enhancing other possible media opportunities

In addition to these social and economic developments, the expansion of sport

agent representation of athletes has brought along with it sports agents who have not

always acted in the athlete's best interests. Such situations are especially prevalent in the

area of intercollegiate athletics. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association

(NCAA) prohibits a student-athlete from contracting with a sports agent while the

student-athlete is still in college and eligible for intercollegiate athletics. Sports agents,

however, frequently ignore NCAA regulations and secretly loan or offer money, cars, and

other valuable items to student-athletes in exchange for the opportunity to represent them

when the student-athlete's intercollegiate eligibility expires. As a result of such conduct,

the intercollegiate careers of many student-athletes come to an abrupt end because they

must forfeit their remaining intercollegiate eligibility if the NCAA discovers that they have

contracted with sports agents. Furthermore, the reputations of the colleges that these

student-athletes attend suffer from the negative national publicity that occurs when

student-athletes lose their NCAA eligibility by contracting with sports agents.

In addition to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics, sports agents have also

not always acted in the athlete's best interests in the area of professional athletics. Many

professional athletes have lost thousands of dollars because of improper financial

investments and advice made by their sports agents. Many sports agents' inadequate

qualifications have led to their failure to act in the best interest of athletes, by causing

many intercollegiate careers to end and by improperly managing a professional athlete's

financial affairs. When a sports agent agrees to represent an athlete, the sports agent

becomes the athlete's career planner. Thus, the athlete places his economic potential in the

hands of his sports agent. Moreover, when a sports agent holds himself out as a career

planner, the agent is indicating that he/she possesses expertise in the area of athlete

representation. Sports agents, therefore, owe the athletes they represent both a fiduciary

duty to possess the necessary skill and diligence to adequately represent the athlete. Many

sports agents, however, breach these duties because they have not had the proper training

to adequately represent athletes. For example, sports agents are not required to have any

type of educational degree or any minimum level of training, skill, or knowledge in the

fundamental areas of athlete representation such as contract drafting and negotiating,

financial planning, and collective bargaining agreements. Although the various professional

players' associations, the NCAA, and a number of state statutes have all attempted to

address the problems surrounding sport agent abuses, the professional players'

associations and many states will certify, license, or register sports agents who are not

necessarily knowledgeable or qualified to represent athletes. Consequently, athletes cannot

be assured that they are being represented by competent and trustworthy agents. Although

the number of sports agents who fail to act in the athlete's best interests has increased,

causing many athletes not to employ them, a sports agent can prove beneficial to an


A sports agent can help an athlete's performance by obtaining a fair and reasonable

salary for him from a professional sports team. Additionally, a sports agent can help an

athlete take full advantage of endorsements and public appearances, as well as set up tax,

financial, and investment plans. Moreover, sports agents and athletes often become valued

friends and companions.

In an attempt to preserve these benefits and deal with sports agents who fail to act

in the best interest of the athletes they represent, a number of agencies within the sports

field have set up regulations to govern sports agents. The National Football League

Players Association (NFLPA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and

the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have all implemented guidelines

and regulations that govern a sports agent's representation of professional athletes.

Additionally, the NCAA has established guidelines and regulations that govern the

involvement of sports agents in the field of amateur sports. Many state legislatures have

also passed legislation that regulates sports agent's activities at both the professional and

amateur levels. While these various organizations and state legislatures have recognized

the need for regulating sports agents and have attempted to remedy the situation, the

remedies that they pose are simply inadequate. Nevertheless, these attempted remedies

illustrate the problems involved in regulating sports agents and help provide an

understanding of the steps needed to control these problems.

Although there is heated competition to represent professional athletes,

there is only a small number of agents representing the majority of players. In light of these

numbers and with relatively few players in the potential client pool, the competition to

represent players is vigorous and at times unprincipled. Often an agent will need a

substantial number of professional athlete clients in order to achieve financial stability or

success. Job security is not a certainty in this field of study.

Sports law will undergo fascinating and interesting changes in the years to come.

Professional sports are undergoing a transformation, as the nature and economics of the

games change. The outcome of this conversion is unclear. It is unclear how profitable

professional sports are in current economic conditions. The recent NFL antitrust cases

described a multi-million dollar salary payment to one owner and significantly

underestimated profitability for some teams. However, the evidence also shows that a

number of franchises are losing money based on reasonable accounting evaluations. In

contrast, the recent sales of the Baltimore and San Francisco baseball teams, the record

breaking sale of the Philadelphia Eagles and the competition for new franchises despite

their cost, reflect significant value of sports franchises.

Players and agents should concern themselves with recent trends and events in the

professional sports industry. For example, the enormous increase in salaries, free agency,

labor stoppages, and the rapidly emerging limits on TV revenues, ticket prices, sky boxes

and other revenue constitute significant considerations for players and their agents.

Additionally, teams from small cities have made extensive use of deferred compensation as

a means of competing with the salaries offered by teams in larger cities. The amount of

deferred compensation combined with the financial difficulties of some teams has reached

significant heights. Correspondingly, a player's representative must consider seeking the

personal guarantees of financially responsible owners and the use of escrow for the player-

client's full compensation when representing blue chip players and outstanding coaches.

My personal opinion is that sports agents have gotten a bum wrap. Sure they

maneuver their way to get what contracts they want, but that is their job. The agent is

only following and protecting the players wishes. Why should the public complain about

someone doing their job?

Why do I want to become a sports agent? My first reason is that sports have been

my life. I do not currently have the skills to play a professional sport. However, I do

obtain a strong business since and I am very strong at negotiations. My second reason is,

it is every young boy’s dream to meet sporting legends. Being a sports agent, I live that

fantasy. My third reason, the average minimum pay for a sports agent is between

$150,000 to $200,000. Some agents make even more than that. I do believe I can live off

of that.



Appenzeller, Herb. Sports and the courts. Charlottesville, VA : Michie, c1980.

Champion, Walter T. Fundamentals of sports law. Rochester, NY : Clark Boardman

Callaghan, c1990-

Greenberg, Martin J. Sports law practice. Charlottesville, VA : Michie, c1992

Law of professional and amateur sports. New York, NY : C. Boardman, c1988- (Loose


Digeronimo, Theresa F. Robert Rules: Success Secrets from America’s Most Trusted

Sports Agent. September 1998.

Schubert, George W. Sports law. St. Paul, MN : West, c1986.RESERVE

Sports and law, contemporary issues. Charlottesville, VA : Michie, c1985.

The Sports lawyers journal. v. 1, no. 1 (Spring 1994)- Racine, WI : Sports Lawyers


Uberstine, Gary A. Covering all the bases, a comprehensive research guide to sports law.

Buffalo, NY : Wm. S. Hein, c1985.

Word Count: 2290

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