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 The post, titled, Time For A New Jerry Maguire?, says that the movie is outdated.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. Often times, 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 Synergy 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.
[[This article originally appeared on the Sports Agent Blog]]