There is a vast interest in the field of sports agentry at every level of school, as well as with people in other occupations. So far, there has been virtually nothing credible available in terms of specific training and direction. Many undergrad and law schools offer a course in Sports Law, but it tends to be taught with cases that apply to the NCAA, or other legal issues without focusing on the concept of representation.
If we hope to have a new generation of sports agents who are idealistic, ethical and care about the long-term interests of athletes and sport itself, they need to be trained.
When I taught Sports Law at UC Irvine and Chapman University School of Law, I tailored an interactive course emphasizing underlying skills. The students did personal value inventories to identify their own priorities. They wrote a mission statement as to what they hoped to bring to their practice. They used the priority list to elicit an understanding of athletes that they recruited in class. They were taught recruiting considerations and strategies.
The students were given the task of creating a charitable foundation for an athlete and designing a public service announcement. They were taught the basics of branding. A number of sessions were spent on the art of negotiating. The course culminated with students getting the role of agent or general manager and negotiating a complex, first-round draftee contract. They had to create a business plan and a structure for their firm. They were taught about how to deal with client maintenance -- injuries, disgruntled non-starters, and concierge. They were taught the considerations in a free agency setting.
They heard from Bob Hacker, VP of Business at Fox Sports about how to do a media contract for an athlete. Professor Mark Francis lectured on how to create an app. Former Giant, Cowboy and 49er Mike Sherrard shared perspective from a player standpoint. Kevin Kaplan of Coaching Charities presented the steps to create and run a charitable foundation. Robert Alvarado, VP of the Angels, instructed the students on how marketing and ticketing works.
In an attempt to create the best and brightest of tomorrow's agents, I decided to hold a Sports Academy with a day-long boot camp. Hopefully this will spur other practical educational opportunities. It will be held Oct. 11 in Newport Beach, California, and young super-agent, Chris Cabott, will add his wisdom.
We owe athletes representation that focuses holistically on an individual, and prepares them for life after football. For more information, check out Agent Academy.
-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.