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    Sports agents Essay (2212 words)

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    As sports has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, there has been an explosion in thenumber of lawyers who specialize in sports law. There has been an understandablysignificant 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 tremendousThe concept of a sports agent representing professional or amateur athletes is arelatively recent phenomenon. As recently as twenty years ago, few athletes employedsports 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 hasgreatly expanded due to the large amounts of money athletes can make and their in abilityA college degree is not absolutely necessary to be a sports agent. Many successfulagents skipped college to persue their career. However, a college education does aide ingetting clients. A sports law degree is offered at some law schools to those who want tospecialize in being a sports agent. A prospective agent may also have a sportsadministration degree and contacts to help him begin his career.

    A frequently askedquestion is how does a lawyer become involved in the field of sports law and athleterepresentation. 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 personsholding an equity interest in the ownership of a team.

    An opportunity for employmentalso exists as part of a college or professional sports administration. The expansion of sports agents can be attributed to a combination of socialand economic developments. First, increased popularity of sports has resulted in greatermedia coverage of athletic events. As a result, advertising and other commercial activitieshave generated increased revenues for professional sports teams and, consequently,demands from athletes for a portion of this revenue. Second, competition for an athlete’sservices from new competitive sports leagues has provided athletes with greaterbargaining power and leverage when negotiating their salaries. Third, through the processof free agency, athletes have the freedom to leave the sports team that originally selectedthem and sign with another team.

    Because athletes generally do not have the training orexperience to deal with these social and economic developments, many athletes hire sportsagents to draft and negotiate their contracts with professional sports teams, to planfinancial and endorsement endeavors, and to interpret collective bargaining agreements. The two main duties of a sports agent are recruitment and contract negotiation. Acommon method of obtaining clients is by using personal contacts, friends and otherathletes to meet professional athletes. The more sports figures you know, meet andrepresent, the better the chance of engaging some as clients. Knowing college coaches isan obviously beneficial way to obtain clients. Success and good publicity also broadenavenues 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 thatentity 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 5years from now. Many people do not understand exactly what a sports agent does.

    Hereis a break down of the duties of a sports agent:PREPARATION FOR PLAYING PROFESSIONAL ATHLETICSo 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 Representation of all grievances, hearings, or appeals Collective bargaining agreements, in the context of professional sports, are contractsbetween management and the players’ union which govern the working relationshipbetween 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 bysuccessful negotiators.

    First, the representative must be completely informed about thenegotiations. Second, the representative must maintain the client’s needs andobjectives. Third, the representative must choose an effective strategy and negotiatediligently 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 timeis spent with the individual person who is “inside” the athlete.

    There are various issuesthat athletes may face that they need an empathetic ear for. This can go from familyissues, to financial, to team problems, or just plain ” I need someone to talk to”Assistance in collecting career-ending/disability insurance proceeds Arranging for medical assistance and second opinions from the foremost specialists inall of sports. Including surgeons and physical therapists. Planning for post-athletic career; coaching; broadcasting; color analystContacts with established individuals and companies in a desired field Press releases; promoting the player Television and radio exposure; writing or planning interview dialogueArranging local and national interviews Retaining of specialists when needed or required Endorsements with national and regional companies Reviewing and advising on home, automobile and other purchases 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 investmentAdvising the client and club during the year of the proper amount to be withheld fromeach check so that the client does not have to make a significant payment at tax time Assistance in selecting financial planners A list of financial firms that have worked with our clients in the past or ones that weA working relationship with your family financial planner or any financial planner orDeveloping 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 sportagent representation of athletes has brought along with it sports agents who have notalways acted in the athlete’s best interests. Such situations are especially prevalent in thearea of intercollegiate athletics. For example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) prohibits a student-athlete from contracting with a sports agent while thestudent-athlete is still in college and eligible for intercollegiate athletics.

    Sports agents,however, frequently ignore NCAA regulations and secretly loan or offer money, cars, andother valuable items to student-athletes in exchange for the opportunity to represent themwhen 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 theymust forfeit their remaining intercollegiate eligibility if the NCAA discovers that they havecontracted with sports agents. Furthermore, the reputations of the colleges that thesestudent-athletes attend suffer from the negative national publicity that occurs whenstudent-athletes lose their NCAA eligibility by contracting with sports agents. In addition to their involvement in intercollegiate athletics, sports agents have alsonot always acted in the athlete’s best interests in the area of professional athletics. Manyprofessional athletes have lost thousands of dollars because of improper financialinvestments and advice made by their sports agents.

    Many sports agents’ inadequatequalifications have led to their failure to act in the best interest of athletes, by causingmany intercollegiate careers to end and by improperly managing a professional athlete’sfinancial affairs. When a sports agent agrees to represent an athlete, the sports agentbecomes the athlete’s career planner. Thus, the athlete places his economic potential in thehands of his sports agent. Moreover, when a sports agent holds himself out as a careerplanner, the agent is indicating that he/she possesses expertise in the area of athleterepresentation. Sports agents, therefore, owe the athletes they represent both a fiduciaryduty to possess the necessary skill and diligence to adequately represent the athlete. Manysports agents, however, breach these duties because they have not had the proper trainingto adequately represent athletes.

    For example, sports agents are not required to have anytype of educational degree or any minimum level of training, skill, or knowledge in thefundamental areas of athlete representation such as contract drafting and negotiating,financial planning, and collective bargaining agreements. Although the various professionalplayers’ associations, the NCAA, and a number of state statutes have all attempted toaddress the problems surrounding sport agent abuses, the professional players’associations and many states will certify, license, or register sports agents who are notnecessarily knowledgeable or qualified to represent athletes. Consequently, athletes cannotbe assured that they are being represented by competent and trustworthy agents. Althoughthe 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 anA sports agent can help an athlete’s performance by obtaining a fair and reasonablesalary for him from a professional sports team.

    Additionally, a sports agent can help anathlete 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 valuedIn an attempt to preserve these benefits and deal with sports agents who fail to actin the best interest of the athletes they represent, a number of agencies within the sportsfield have set up regulations to govern sports agents. The National Football LeaguePlayers Association (NFLPA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), andthe Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have all implemented guidelinesand regulations that govern a sports agent’s representation of professional athletes. Additionally, the NCAA has established guidelines and regulations that govern theinvolvement of sports agents in the field of amateur sports. Many state legislatures havealso passed legislation that regulates sports agent’s activities at both the professional andamateur levels.

    While these various organizations and state legislatures have recognizedthe need for regulating sports agents and have attempted to remedy the situation, theremedies that they pose are simply inadequate. Nevertheless, these attempted remediesillustrate the problems involved in regulating sports agents and help provide anunderstanding 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 thesenumbers and with relatively few players in the potential client pool, the competition torepresent players is vigorous and at times unprincipled. Often an agent will need asubstantial number of professional athlete clients in order to achieve financial stability orsuccess.

    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 thegames change. The outcome of this conversion is unclear. It is unclear how profitableprofessional sports are in current economic conditions. The recent NFL antitrust casesdescribed a multi-million dollar salary payment to one owner and significantlyunderestimated profitability for some teams.

    However, the evidence also shows that anumber of franchises are losing money based on reasonable accounting evaluations. Incontrast, the recent sales of the Baltimore and San Francisco baseball teams, the recordbreaking sale of the Philadelphia Eagles and the competition for new franchises despitetheir cost, reflect significant value of sports franchises. Players and agents should concern themselves with recent trends and events in theprofessional sports industry. For example, the enormous increase in salaries, free agency,labor stoppages, and the rapidly emerging limits on TV revenues, ticket prices, sky boxesand other revenue constitute significant considerations for players and their agents. Additionally, teams from small cities have made extensive use of deferred compensation asa means of competing with the salaries offered by teams in larger cities. The amount ofdeferred compensation combined with the financial difficulties of some teams has reachedsignificant heights.

    Correspondingly, a player’s representative must consider seeking thepersonal 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 theymaneuver their way to get what contracts they want, but that is their job. The agent isonly following and protecting the players wishes. Why should the public complain aboutWhy do I want to become a sports agent? My first reason is that sports have beenmy life. I do not currently have the skills to play a professional sport.

    However, I doobtain a strong business since and I am very strong at negotiations. My second reason is,it is every young boys dream to meet sporting legends. Being a sports agent, I live thatfantasy. 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 offBibliography:BibliographyAppenzeller, Herb.

    Sports and the courts. Charlottesville, VA : Michie, c1980. Champion, Walter T. Fundamentals of sports law.

    Rochester, NY : Clark BoardmanCallaghan, c1990- Greenberg, Martin J. Sports law practice. Charlottesville, VA : Michie, c1992http://www. law. vill.

    edu/vls/journals/vselj/volume1_1/garbarin. htm#IIwhatLaw of professional and amateur sports. New York, NY : C. Boardman, c1988- (Looseleaf) Digeronimo, Theresa F. Robert Rules: Success Secrets from Americas Most TrustedSports 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 LawyersAssociation. Uberstine, Gary A. Covering all the bases, a comprehensive research guide to sports law. Buffalo, NY : Wm. S. Hein, c1985.

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