So you have dreams about being a superstar sports agent, here are some first steps to take to achieve this goal. It is useful to do an internal inventory as to what your motivations are. Create a priority list and consider 1) Short Term Economic Gain, 2) Long Term Economic Security, 3) Family and Relationships, 4) Geography, 5) Profile and Recognition, 6) Doing Work You Believe In, 7) Making a Positive Difference in the World, 8) Travel, 9) Autonomy, and 10) Role. Clarity as to why you want to do this is important. Hopefully, you have a true desire to help athletes enhance their lives, their careers, and life post-career. You must realize your responsibility as a steward of the sport for players now and in the future.
Study psychology in school and life. You need to have the ability to see the world from the perspective of an athlete, or team official. This puts yourself into their heart and mind, which helps you understand their true motivations and needs. Every business course you take will be helpful as well. While you are in high school, college or grad school, try and secure an internship with an agency, marketing firm, club, league, or in sports television. Make yourself indispensable and learn as much as you can. You should become the one "go to" person who knows facts, regulations, and dates that are relevant.
To represent an athlete in team sports, it is required to be certified by the Players Association of that sport. The NFLPA Players Association requires an undergraduate degree and a post graduate degree in business, law, or sports administration. The NFLPA requires a fee and initial registration in January and will do a background check. They have a test given in the summer regarding the collective bargaining agreement and agent responsibilities.
Once cleared to take the test, passing the test, and obtaining liability insurance, new NFLPA agents are cleared around October 1st to start recruiting clients.
Most states have state regulatory laws that govern agents. Agents need to register and follow the rules of the state governing where a college athlete plays. The process involves paperwork and a fee. States like Texas and Florida have sent agents to jail for not following the regulations. Every college campus also has a Compliance officer. Agents are required to be in compliance to talk with an athlete from that school. There are periods of time in which compliance allows interaction with players, and many schools ask agents not to talk to their players during the season.
Know going in that sports agentry is something that thousands aspire to do, but few are successful in. The competition is fierce. Careful consideration as to the economics of running a practice are necessary -- it is a business. Create a business plan that is realistic. There are fee caps each union creates that limit what can be charged for a contract negotiation. Pro football is capped at 3 percent of the contract amount, only due once the player is actually paid. For the NBA, 4 percent is the maximum, while MLB is 5 percent. There are no fee caps regulating what can be charged for securing an endorsement.
This is a field for the best and brightest, requires superb work ethic and commitment. I held an agent seminar last Saturday to train a group of young prospective agents from across the country. They had idealism, passion and dedication. Our profession needs an infusion of new blood that has the best interests of athletes at heart, understands role modeling, second career, and who will enhance the sports world.
The emotional and business rewards are well worth making this leap!
Original post on rantsports.com, on October 17, 2014