SO YOU WANT TO BE AN AGENT?
Thank you for coming back. I hope Part 1 went into some detail about what it takes, and will take to start your career to becoming an agent. If you truly want to break into the business, here's my advice.
1) Be realistic, in not only your goals, but your expectations. This includes the money you will spend, (a lot), and the money you will make (a little). The level of players you will sign, and the chance they have to make it to the NFL.
2) Stay persistent. You will fail A LOT. You will get told NO, A LOT. And you will not get in touch with players, A LOT. But if you keep at it, eventually you may get a break.
3) If you have a shot to get an internship take it. If you have a shot to actually work with an agent, that's even better. But keep trying; the main thing is to stand out. Bring something to the table that no other person will. Saying you are driven, is fine, but how many resumes have that statement on them?
4) Be prepared for a lot of heartache and stress, stress, and more stress. Stress while recruiting. And even if you sign a guy, stress in keeping the guy. Not only happy with you, but out of the clutches of other agents. Stress with spending a ton of money, only to not have anything in return. The last one is especially big, especially if you are married. Ask any agent about their married life, and I guarantee they can tell you a lot of times they slept on the couch.
With that out of the way, I will move on. Today I will answer some questions I received from some of my readers. (Thank you by the way)And also I will give you a couple of firsthand accounts from some agents that were nice enough to share their story with me. Remember these are just answers/advice that I think will benefit you. And just like with my clients, I will keep it 100% real, so without further adieu, here goes part 2…
Greg , you speak a lot about unrealistic expectations. I hopefully will take my test this year. I plan on signing a couple of guys who may get drafted next year. With these guys, I don't plan on spending much money, am I being unrealistic?
To be honest with you. Yes. First off, refer to part one of the post. Remember, just to become certified as an agent you will come out of pocket at least $3000.00. That's the application test fee, NFLPA mandatory insurance, and hotel room for D.C. Add in the cost of travel to and from D.C., plus the state registration fee, depending on where you live, and you are actually looking closer to $4,000.00. If the guy is a borderline prospect like you said, then he may have expectations of going somewhere for training and the agent is expected to flip the bill. Almost all players get some form of pre draft training. So that could be another $5,000 to $12,000 per player. So in your plan and why you are recruiting these players, keep that in the back of mind. With the amount of money you spend in the first year on a prospect, versus the amount of money you stand to make, it's not really a wise business venture.
What advice would you give to those in their early twenties who want to break into this industry?
Being young is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It's an advantage because you are young, hungry, and have something to prove. Also, hopefully you are recruiting at a school where you graduated from and still know some players on the team that you may be close to. It's a disadvantage because you will have no experience, no contacts, and no way to show the guys that you will be able to handle the things they need. Also if you are in your early twenties, chances that you have $15,000 lying around are slim. I don't know your situation, yet the financial obligation is a major factor in getting started. Knowing which players to recruit is also a disadvantage. As I said before, you could use internet stories and sites, but when it comes down to it, knowing actual team scouts is an advantage.
What is the hardest part of recruiting?
This question can piggy back on the previous one. There is no one hard part of recruiting. The whole process is a constant headache and one that is not for the thin skinned.
1) As stated before, you have to KNOW which players have a shot to play at the next level. The most experienced scouts and coaches don't get these right all the time, so imagine how hard it is for an agent outside the top 100.Yet almost every prospect thinks they are a high draft pick. It's up to the agent to give them their realistic chances.
2) Other agents. This may be the hardest part of recruiting if I had to choose. Most agents; especially knew agents really have no idea just how many agents there actually are. You think you may have a bead on an under the radar guy, but if no other agents are on the player, then he is not an NFL prospect. If he is, you have to expect to be competing against at least 20 agents in an attempt to sign that player. And out of that group there's someone that has more notoriety, more clients, more experience, and more money. You are also recruiting against the player's friends, coaches, and parents who may already have an agent in mind.
3) The player. Recruiting the player is an adventure within itself. You never know what he is thinking. And you believe really half of what he says. Last year I had 2 guys tell me on Monday they were signing with me. I tried to sign one that night, he asked me to wait until the morning. When I called in the morning, he informed me his mom advised him to go another direction. So I jumped in my car to start the 6 hour drive only to receive a text saying that he had also changed his mind. You can spend the whole year recruiting a guy and think you may have the best relationship, only to have him change his mind at the last minute.
4) Travel. Deciding which players to target, then how much to speak with them without bugging them, yet enough to show you are interested. Then you have to plan on which games you need to attend, and how to mix meetings with their families into the mix. If you are only recruiting one or two guys, this isn't an issue, but you can see how if you were talking with a few, this could get time consuming.
5) Finally, getting in touch with the player. How do you find their contact info, then contacting them without breaking any compliance rules the school, state, or NFLPA may have. Getting them to take your phone calls or emails, or agree to a face to face is another obstacle. Remember they are being called daily by agents, financial advisors, runners, marketing reps etc.
Greg, I understand how difficult it is to break into the business. And that most agents have most of the guys. I will take the test this summer hopefully, and my plan is to only recruited undrafted guys and guys who could get drafted. I think this Is this a solid plan because of less competition?
Yes, the reason is being a new agent these guys may be willing to speak with you and give you a meeting with them. However, you are a fool to think that you will have less competition. In some cases, you will have more competition. Only a handful of agents recruit first rounders because they have had the most success and a lot of agents don't have the name, resources, or confidence to compete. However, many agents think the same way that you do. They feel they have a chance with these guys as well. And there are more agents that don't have client and are trying to get one, and will be going after these guys just as hard as guys going after the first rounders.
Greg, you've mentioned on your tweets that not all guys are NFL guys. As an agent how do you decide who to target?
I have found the best resources are scouts from NFL teams. They have the knowledge of a guys strengths and weaknesses, and can give you a firsthand account of what their team thinks of a player. Being new, this may not be an option. Most scouts are over worked, under paid, and get a lot of calls and emails daily. They usually just disregard some agents attempts to speak to them. You meet these guys, by having a player they want. Then they seek you out, again with no players, this may be kind of difficult. You can also read up on mock drafts, and some of the numerous draft sites on the web. But if you take a look at these, you can see outside the top 100 or so, they differ greatly. My advice is talk to them, research them, and find one you trust. The most reliable resource though are your own two eyes. But even those can deceive you if you don't know what to look for. Again not all good college players, are NFL caliber.
Greg, I am marketing major, and would love to work with a sports agency. I don't see agents advertise much. Why and wouldn't this be a great idea?
Believe it or not, agents market themselves all the time. You may not see it. They are not going to take an ad out in the phone book, but its ever present. You don't see traditional marketing for one, because it may be a compliance violation. And two, if you advertise, and a player calls you, chances are that player is not an NFL prospect. All prospects get contacted by numerous agents. Rarely do the players contact the agent. Keep that in mind.
If you had to tell one thing to a guy looking to become a sports agent, what would it be?
I would say read both these posts and you will have your answer. But graduating college and becoming a sports agent just isn't a feasible path. The main thing is the money. If you are relying on income from your first year to sustain you, you may want to rethink your career choice because odds say you are being very unrealistic and naïve. So I guess I would say, get a job, save money, then have a great plan of action.
Greg, I know you say experience and an internship, and the basics are important. But you say they are hard to get. What is your advice for someone to gain these?
As I stated before just stay persistent. No one has ever achieved anything by giving up. So keep pushing, and hit up every agent you can. It may be beneficial to approach smaller agents that also have another career, like being a lawyer. They tend to offer the most internship opportunities because their practices take up a lot of their time. Yet there is a program out there that offers a class on sports management. The course is offered by Sports Management Worldwide, SMWW. It is an 8 week course that offers you the basics of contracts, and the fundamentals of a sports agent. The director is Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, and he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the course. Marcus Williams is the director of Football, and a NFLPA certified agent. During the course, they are available almost anytime, to offer advice, or just to answer questions. They also offer plenty of internships throughout the year.
So that does it for the question part of the blog post. If you have any other questions, please be free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @agentlinton… next up is a testimony from a few agent friends of mine on their start.
I thought it would be about relationships. Year 1 we wanted to get our feet wet in our backyard and just talk to Gators we knew. I've only been at it one year but I sat down with or had at least 9 different Florida Gators on the phone who were shopping agents. 4 of them went with an agent who told them they would get drafted or get a team to sign them. EPIC FAIL on their parts. I still have never heard of the agents they chose but have their names. None remain in NFL and none were smart enough to prepare for UFL or CFL, all jobless. 4 of them went with agents like Segal, Rosenhaus, Bus Cook. Those kids are all off teams except for Marcus Gilbert. None remain in NFL and none were smart enough to prepare for UFL or CFL. The ninth told me he would sign with me but stuck with Bus Cook. He got signed by Saints but failed his physical and remains jobless, Carl Johnson. I have spent over $10k and and 3 and a half years preparation, 60 page business plan outlining every step and move we've ever made, countless hours budgeting. I have ZERO revenue to show for it (I dont charge my guys for arena because it's chump change). I do however have 5 extremely satisfied clients I have fought to find jobs and all 5 earned spots on arena teams that I set up workouts for and all 5 are in yr 2 and are lined up to get looks from bigger leagues if they continue to play at the same level as last year. I thought it would be easy since I know my CBA stuff better than most and have negotiated contracts.
I have been an agent for 2 years without a guy on an NFL roster. In my third year I was able to sign two players. On these 2 players alone I spent over $12,000.00. One guy I was for sure would be drafted, the other I had hope he would be. The draft came and went, and neither guy heard their name called. After the lockout they did sign as UDFA. However neither made the final roster, or the practice squad. I am looking into other leagues, but I will not get the money back I spent this year. And I am now starting to recruit for next year. Hopefully, I have a little more experience this year this year in knowing what guys will actually be drafted, and I met some scouts so I should be able to get some good information from them as well.
I've been an agent for some years, and I think each year that next year will be my year. I have had some success in the past, but I have yet to make a legitimate profit. I have had some low round draft picks and to some that would signal success. I had 2 players come up on their second contracts, but they both fired me before hand because another agent promised them he could get them more money. So not only did I lose them as clients, I also lost the money I would have received from their contracts. Which was what I was really counting on to further my business.
I do not want you to take these accounts as a deterrent, rather a real life account of some of the things you will encounter while you make the transition into the world of athlete management.
Thank you… until next time… Stay Classy America…
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
So you wanna be a Sports Agent…
So you want to be a sports agent? You saw Jerry McGuire, just like I did, and got inspired, just like I did, and thought to yourself, I WOULD LOVE to do that; just like I did. And just like a majority of aspiring sports agents out there, reality hits you in the face like a young Mike Tyson not only fighting to defend his title, but after you called him a very bad name right before the fight; Just like it did me.
Yesterday on twitter, a young man by the name of Edward Piontek asked NFL Business Analyst Andrew Brandt, "What advice would you give someone looking to become a sports agent?" Mr. Brandt's response was short, honest, and to the point. "Have thick skin and a thicker wallet". A Simple answer, yet a very true one.
I apologize in advance for the length of this article. But a lot of the emails say that they have read articles, but not really understood the issues involved with becoming an agent. So I will try to break it down for you as thorough as I can.
There are around 900 registered agents with the NFLPA. Less than half of these agents actually have a client on an NFL roster, and vast majorities (70% - 75%) of NFL Players are represented by less than 100 of those agents. Strictly based on these numbers, it doesn't take a statistical genius to realize that the business is very competitive, probably the most competitive in the U.S. And any agent would also tell you it is the most grimy, shady, arena to ever step foot in. A way to visualize what it's like to be an agent is simple. Think of a WWE Royal Rumble for the Championship Belt. You have 20 guys in the ring, all fighting each other for the ultimate prize. Some use their size to an advantage, others use their brains to outsmart their opponents, and others are just scrappy and will themselves to victory. Now all the wrestlers are different sizes, just like agents. But in reality, it would be hard for a small guy like Evan Bourne to throw Mark Henry over the top ropes. And that's just to speak with a guy.
The allure of being a sports agent is very appealing. But very few outside of the profession have any idea of what it's actually like to break in, stay in and be successful. Yet it doesn't stop over 200 agents adding to the ranks each year with caviar dreams. And just as many that bow out. I get hit up a lot through email, twitter, and even phone calls from "future" sports agents to offer advice on how to get their career started. So I asked some to email me their plan. I received over 27 emails, and the plans were identical in almost every aspect. After I explain the problem with some of their plans, I will answer some questions I received in part 2 of this blog.
The plans basically all said this to some degree. Graduate undergrad, go to law school or get secondary degree, get an internship, learn the business, network. Or after graduation become certified and start recruiting because they know really good players. To both of these, I say "Go for it", and don't stop until you achieve your goal. But you ask me for my experience, so I'll give it you. After graduation, I sent out over 40 resumes to different agents. I received 0 internship offers or interest back. As a matter of fact only maybe 5 even spoke with me. Looking back, I realized how this idea was in itself, to put it simply, not a good one. As I stated before, the profession of athlete management is a fiercely competitive one. Bringing on an intern, in itself, is basically creating more competition. You are teaching someone the way you do business, so they can eventually use what you taught them against you. I've heard people say sign a "no compete" agreement. I can see how this would work with current clients, but agents recruit all over the U.S., how can you not compete eventually? Secondly, an agent spends a lot of time and money traveling the country. To basically double your expense to basically train a guy how to do your job is not good business. Is this my personal feeling? No it is not, rather some feelings I received from other agents. In almost all the emails I received, the aspiring agents all seemed to say they are confident in their abilities, driven, and personable. These are great qualities to have if you would like to become a sports agent, however, if these attributes describe you to a T, how long do you plan to stay an intern. I've never heard of a sprinter who just wants to finish the race. You want the gold, so why would you do all the grunt work, just to see someone else constantly get the glory? And agents see this the same way as I stated before. Hard to train a guy in the way you do business, only to have that younger, more ambitious guy to do your business. Remember, the most important part of this whole thing is trust. And there is very little of it that goes around. Again, most agents don't have 100 clients, and the margin for error, the margin to maybe sign or not sign, and keep a player from other agents is so small, that agents prefer to handle every aspect of their careers themselves. Putting even the smallest amount in the hands of someone else could be a big mistake. I probably went a little over board on this, but it seems to be important because a lot of people think it's simple to get an internship in sports management. If your school doesn't have an intern program, be prepared for a real fight.
Probably the most famous line in the history of the biz is "Show Me The Moneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy". And if you are planning to become an agent, you have to show a lot of people the money before you even get started. Before you even get a chance to negotiate a contract for a player, you have to get the player. To become a certified NFL contract advisor, you must first pass a test. The application fee and cost to take the test is $1,650.00. The test takes place in Washington D.C., in a two day event, so factor in cost to get to D.C. and hotel room, and let's just say that's an additional $600. Now, if you pass the test, you have to acquire NFLPA insurance so you shell out another $1200. Now you are ready to recruit players, and it only cost you around $3,450.00! Most agents stay local when they first start off to reduce cost of travel, a very smart idea. Let's say you live in Kentucky, and you want to recruit say KY and OH. To register with each state as an agent, you will look at an additional $700. Going to games, including traveling, tickets to games, food, and recruiting materials, it would not be out of the question to spend an additional $500 to $2000, depending on where you are recruiting. And this is just too have a chance to recruit a player. If you are able to sign a player, you are then responsible for training. For this example you work hard and you get a very good player to sign with you, and he is a projected draft pick, he would expect to be sent to one of many different training facilities. Just for arguments sake you get a great deal and only expend an additional $11,000 to cover training, travel, and any other request your client may need. And this is for a late round guy. Some say why would you spend this much on that player anyway? Simple; "If you don't, someone else will". And as far as getting the money for training back after they sign, they have to first get drafted and make a team, which isn't easy. And also most agents do not require repayment, so keep that in mind as your competition. So just assume that you will take a loss in the first few years that you are an agent. What if you get a first rounder you may ask? Well off top, the average for a first rounder is not 3% as many of you are led to believe, it's actually closer to 2%. Also, most first rounders are use to getting advances and marketing guarantees. So if you are lucky enough to get one of these guys you are looking to shell out well over 6 figures. I went into a little bit of detail in this section as well, because most aspiring agents do not have an idea of the financial obligations it takes to actually sign a player. And remember again, players want what other players are getting or have gotten. Maybe you can talk a player into training on campus, or not taking a per diem, but if their friend is getting it, they will expect it as well. And if they are a good enough player and have a legit shot, other agents will pounce on the player like a wounded gazelle in the middle of a lion pride. So you just spent all this money on college and grad school, to pursue a career where you will basically live in poverty? As an economics major, that's not that smart. So future agent, make sure you think about the financial part when doing your career path plan.
It's not just the financial part; another part is the actual scouting. You have to learn what to look for and trust your opinion. There are a lot of great college players who are not playing in the NFL. This is another downfall of new agents, knowing who to recruit. Most use various internet draft sites to go after players. And some of these are fairly accurate, but after the first 3 rounds, they differ tremendously. Just because a guy has 150 tackles, or 1000 yards receiving doesn't mean a team will draft him. The source if you really want to know, are the actual scouts and personnel of different teams. These guys for the most part do not like to be bothered, and are very selective who they talk to. Can you imagine if they answered the phone from every agent trying to sell a player? That's one of the reasons they rarely answer the phone now. You have to know that your guy is good enough, and even if you believe with all your being that he is, and he may be, does not mean it's a lock for him to be playing on Sundays.
Most plans are simple. I'll recruit a guy, and they will see how hard I am as a worker, and will sign with me. The problem is, they can't really see how hard you work, because to be honest you have never worked. When I first started I had two friends, one I would say was my best friend, that were seniors and we talked about the whole season how great of a job I would do if I were to represent them. I took it for granted and assumed I had them. Well after the season, let's just say, things didn't go the way I envisioned them. It was evident that even though I am their friends, and they trusted me, it's hard to say if they really believed in me. And their parents pretty much just told me to beat it. That was another lesson I quickly learned. You are dealing with their future, and even though you may know what to do, there are other guys who have been doing it for a while, and are talking to these guys as well. You have to find something to bring to the table that the other 900 agents don't bring. I can't tell you what that is, and I am not trying to discourage you, just giving you an idea of what you are up against. When you are starting out, you are dealing with the issue of raising capital, knowing how to recruit, knowing how to contact sell yourself and what you can do, and the most important part that seems to never be thought about, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BEAT OUT THE OTHER GUY.
I hope this gives you a little bit of a background. But don't worry, THERE'S MORE! Come back for part 2 where I answer questions, and give examples of "My first year" from a few of my agent friends…
Greg "Tripp" Linton - @agentlinton
Saturday, August 6, 2011
YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH…
Me: What's up _____. How's it been going? Haven't spoke to you in a while.
Player: Yeah Man, sorry been busy as hell with camp, and stuff. Plus coach told us he didn't want us talking to agents, and just focus on football. I still want some info about you though.
Me: Bet. No problem. I'll send it right out to you.
Player: Cool. But send it to the football office; coach wants all info to come there.
Me: No problem, I'm sending it out tomorrow morning, talk to you soon.
About a week went by. I haven't heard from the player if he received my packet of information. Not wanting to bother him and respect the coach's wishes, I sent him a text asking if he had indeed received the packet of information that I had worked so hard to put together.
He replied, "No. And I've been waiting for it. I thought you just said forget it and didn't wanna mess with me anymore.
I explained it was sent out, I was still interested, and I would send another one out again. This time, I was a little smarter. I put delivery confirmation on the packet. And sure enough 2 days later it was delivered and signed for.
I waited about another week. After not hearing from him, I decided to not bother him, but give him a little more time. But something interesting happened. I received a call from the player's mother. She said her son said was very interested in me and was waiting on some information. I explained to her that I had sent out two packets already and that I would find out what was going on.
I called the football office and a nice young lady answered the phone. I explained to her that I had sent two packages to the office, and she was actually the one who signed for the parcel. She explained to me that all material was handed to the coach, not the player, and the coach would distribute it to the player. No problem, I thanked her for her time, and hung up. Next, I sent a text to the player explaining the situation. He responded "cool, I'll get it from coach today".
---Phone Rings--- Me: Hello
Player: Mannnnnnnnnnnn, let me tell you what coach said to me. He said yeah I may have got some things in the mail, but you don't need to be bothered with all that, just focus on football. Besides, I already have a guy for you, I've been knowing him for a while, and I think you should go with him."
Me: hahahahahahaha… that's what's up…
All I could do was laugh really. I mean what else could I do. Luckily this guy was able to see through what his coach was trying to do. And I would say that incident has brought us a little closer together, even though he still hasn't seen a packet. While some of you may read that little back and forth and might "gasp" a little bit. In my line of business, it not only happens, but in some schools, it's expected. There are plenty of situations that happen all the time where coaches, football administration, so called outside consultants, and even people within the compliance office try to push kids towards certain agents. Personally, If at all possible, I do not like dealing with anyone in those offices when it comes down to the player making a decision. If they care that much, ask them if they are going to be available at 2:00 a.m. when you call wanted to vent about training camp, if you have questions about your contract, where to live, what car to buy, or just to talk. If they are going to be available as a back up in the case your agent isn't, then by all means they are more than welcome to sit in on the interview. But if you don't have a relationship with your agent, you are more likely to fail. Some guys don't want or don't need a personal relationship, some do, it's up to THE PLAYER to decide. Below are a couple more examples that some of my colleagues have shared with me.
Case 2: A junior decides to leave school early, and decides to sign with an agent that he knows, and trusts, and represents one of his close friends. He's seen the job the agent did first hand, so he felt comfortable with the situation, and so did his family. Well the coaches didn't, they called the kid to the office (after he had already signed) for a meeting. In the office was another agent. The coaching staff tried to plead with the kid to fire his agent and go with the new one, the one they trusted. The kid asked to think about it just to get out of there. And they called him continuously over the next few weeks. How many rules were violated in this situation? He stayed with his original agent by the way.
Case 3: A player at a small non-division 1 school has a decent shot at being drafted this year. He is aware and even though some agents have hit him up, it hasn't been overwhelming. After a couple of phone calls, the player tells the agent, my AD doesn't want me talking to anyone because it could jeopardize my eligibility. Not to talk bad about the AD, but that is simply not true. No rules are being broken here but just to make you feel better, the AD was contacted personally. Well let's just say it was easy to see how the player was misinformed because the AD was clueless. I don't know if this is the first player he's ever dealt with that had a shot, but his response was, "It is against NCAA rules for a player to talk to any agent until after he graduates". After the AD was educated on the actual rules, he still refused to believe them, and said well I am going to have to check with someone. I have no comment to this one.
Case 4: A newer agent recruits players at a major Division 1 Program. He has success in signing a couple of players. One player, who he thought he was going to sign, abruptly changed his mind. When the agent called and asked the player why, he was told, "The people in the compliance office told me not to sign with agent x, because agent x was a convicted criminal". Now, a reason of he's new, or he's just not a good agent in my opinion would have been acceptable. But to tell a bold face lie like that kind of was a shock. But it is what it is. That school had 7 NFL contracts done that year. The office provided assistance to 5 of those guys, with the newer agent signing 2 of them. A couple of years later, that newer agent still has his two clients, and neither of the 5 other guys are with their original agent.
Case 5: An agent I know was talking to a potential first round pick that had narrowed his choices down to 3 agents was advised by the school to ask the agents to come down and present their case to the coach and a board or something like a committee. On the eve of the meetings, another agent, (who happened to be the agent of the coach), showed up at the players house and presented a united "best case scenario for the player". The player had never talked to the agent before, only heard of him. The coach told him this agent was by far the best and he should do the responsible thing and call the other two agents and tell them not to come because he didn't want them to waste their money because he had made a decision. The next words out of the coach's mouth were "Trust Me". The player did as his coach advised, and called my friend and told him the news. Needless to say my friend was a little upset and tried to talk the player into giving him a chance, but the player had already signed.
There are numerous of occasions where an agent can tell you about a situation when they lost a player because of a coach, or someone in the football office. And the truth of the matter is, agents rarely get mad anymore because it happens so frequently. The bad thing about this is that the agents, who are chosen by anyone else but the player, rarely are a good fit for the player. Think about it, you are putting your livelihood in the hands of someone that doesn't really know who you are as a person, yet you expect them to know and understand your needs. It's just not a recipe for success. As a matter of fact, most if the things compliance does is setting the player up for failure. YEAH I SAID IT… These young men are just that, MEN. When I graduated from college they said, congrats you're a man now. Yet we treat the players like children because they play football, and make all the excuses in the world on why they need help in choosing an agent. Do the schools put the same effort in helping the Law student choose which firm to work for? Which accounting firm is the best fit for the recent grad? You're old enough to drink, drive, and handle a million dollars, you're old enough to listen to agents and decide for yourself. Overseeing the player's actions to insure they do not violate rules and get themselves or the University in trouble is perfectly fine. But being involved in agent selection should not be part of their duties. Let me break it down for you. Even though this may hurt my rep with some schools, I think I need to speak on it.
Ex. 1) Committees – So you are going to get a group of people together, have agents come in and pitch to the committee on why they should rep the player. The problem is that the agent that has the flashiest profile, most money, or most clients is usually the one that wins the approval, and may not be the best agent for the player. But do you really think the committee cares about what happens to the player after that player leaves school? And does the little guy, the small agent, ever have a legit shot in this situation? I'll let you answer that question.
Ex. 2) Outside Consultant – Some schools have got this grand notion in their head where they hired an outside consultant to sort through agents for their kids. Who's checking the consultant? Do you think it would be odd if let's say 60% of the top rated athletes all sign with the same agencies? Not saying it is happening, but is anyone checking this?
Ex. 3) The newest fad of schools now is to tell the agent when he can have contact with the athletes. When he can call, when he can text, when he can visit, etc. I guess the point is to limit contact so the player can focus on school and football. Again, we give the players no credit. If they don't want to talk to someone, they won't answer the phone. You can't make a guy answer the phone no matter how many times an agent calls. If the guy doesn't vibe with you, he won't talk to you. Again schools are treating these guys like kids, and what happens when you micro manage a kid? THEY ACT OUT. They will do it just to spite the rules, and here's a piece of advice, if an agent wants to talk to a kid, he will. Also this rule, lessens the opportunity for a kid to get to know an agent to see if they can even be a fit together. All these people sitting back and thinking of all these rules and laws to limit contact are focusing on the wrong things.
Ex. 4) Agent Laws… Everyone talking about changing the agent laws. One state had said that they were going to implement a 100,000 cash bond for agents… So what your saying is you only want the same 3 agents to recruit your state. I can't afford that, and not too many of the agents I know have the ability too. And they are good guys. It's already ridiculous because newer, and smaller agents already have a tough time competing in the first place. Let me break it down for you. You pay your NFLPA dues and insurance. Then let's say I want to recruit in my state and surrounding states. That would be KY, TN, OH, IN. to register in each state the total is $2000.00. So to recruit as an NFLPA certified agent, I have spent $6,000.00 already just for a chance to maybe talk to a guy to get him to sign with you. Remember we haven't signed anyone, but the state of Delaware wants me to pay $2,500.00 to talk and visit with a guy. Needless to say I've never recruited anyone from Delaware. Why can't we have a national registry? Why not pay $1000.00 to the NFLPA and that money is distributed between all the states that have registration. With all the NFL and NBA agents in the USA, I'm sure they would break even. And why I'm at it, do the state registration really deter illegal agent activity. Take North Carolina, they have had trouble as of late, and they have agents registration laws. Yet the state of Virginia, which has it's own claim of NFL talent year in and year out has no agent registration laws. And the athletes at these schools seem to be doing fine. And don't tell me Virginia Tech and UVA doesn't have just as many NFL caliber players as North Carolina.
Oh well, I have plenty more that I can talk about but this blog post is long enough. I have to save something for next time… lol
Until Then, Stay Classy America…
Monday, June 13, 2011
OH "MR. AGENT GUY", you're a sly little devil aren't you?
When I decided that I wanted to be involved in the profession of Athlete Management, I researched a lot of sports agents. I like many Americans believed these guys where good honest guys trying to make a living. You seen them on TV, read about them in the papers and magazines, and get the idea in your mind that they are helpful, open, professionals that would love to help a guy out. I WAS WRONG…
The background of how I got started in the agent business is a story I will save for a later blog, or my article in some Sports Publication. But the first paragraph was written just to let you know how naïve I was about sports agents, and how my views changed. While there are some agents that are friendly, helpful, full of integrity and overall good genuine people out there, you probably never heard of some of these guys. But take a list of the NFLPA infractions list and I guarantee that most of the agents you all hold in such high regard are on the list. The others well… let's just say they are extremely good at not being caught.
So since the NFLPA decertified I have been involved with a couple of altercations with some agents, and also learned of a few tactics some agents have been using to get clients. I try to stay under the radar on some situations, but the attitude and audacity that some of these agents out here, makes me have to stop sometimes and just ask, "Are you serious?" I can do nothing but laugh at them, point blank; I work too hard to have some shady, conniving, snake in the grass individual that calls himself an agent try and take something from me without a fight, or at least a loud altercation. Below are just some examples of some issues that I have dealt with over the last few weeks.
#1: A client called me and said that an "agent" keeps calling him saying he had some endorsement opportunities for him. And during the lockout he has already secured guaranteed endorsements for my client. First of all, why would another agent work for a client that isn't his? So, I told my guy tell the agent to send over one contract proving he had these endorsements for proof. The response, you have to sign with me first, and then I'll get you the deals. So he just lied right there, I thought he already had them. Oh, and I should mention that this agent was once suspended by the NFLPA. How would you have handled it? Me, I called the guy and confronted him, called him out, he had the nerve to tell me I was being unprofessional. I didn't call him because he called my guy once, but over 5 times in a week. My guy told him repeatedly, "If you have something, just call my agent", or course the guy never did.
#2: An agent called one of my players who is an UDFA and said, "I have my guy a guaranteed deal once the lockout is over, does your agent have you a deal?" To which my player responded no. The agent then went on to tell the player that I wasn't doing my job, if I was I would have already promised him to a team and you wouldn't be worried about where he was going to play. Sounds good right? I don't think so. We do not know what's going to happen with the CBA. Who's going to be a RFA or UFA. Which players and at what position the teams are going to sign during Free Agency. So if you tell teams your mind is made up and they go out and get other players at your position, then where does that leave you? I like the option of three teams that my guy has, puts him in the better position to make a team. Or that's what I think, maybe I'm wrong.
#3: I get a call from an established so called big time agent who heard that I may be recruiting a player that he is recruiting as well. He politely told me who he was, then sternly suggested that I step I act like a fat kid in a dodge ball game, and just get out. I really am not the type that likes confrontation, (contrary to rumor), so I politely laughed, which made him upset. And I told him while I appreciate his phone call, I was honored that he thought enough of me to be considered a threat, yet while he was checking with people to get my phone number, he should have asked about me. And I'm sure they would have told him, I don't back down, I am just as good, and I be damn if I let any MAN, especially another agent scare me. So to him, and any other agent who thinks they can intimidate me, #KICKROCKS , and have a nice day.
#4: This is a funny one. Some Agents have goons! Yes, they have people who work for them as runners or whatever who try to intimidate people. Okay, go ahead and laugh. How do I know, because a player told me. He said a guy rolled up on him and said he didn't appreciate the way he dissed the "goons" boss, by not talking to the agent. What is this world coming too.
#5: A very attractive female, has been talking to a player that I know. A lot of agents have hit this guy up, but this young lady was a release from football. She lives in New York, the player down south. Yet she calls and texts every day. She had made plans to fly down to see him, and needless to say the guy was ecstatic. Until the girl told him that she works as a pr person for an agent, and the agent was coming with her, and before they go out, he has to talk to the agents first….. Do I even need to go on about this? Again, I laughed. The company, I never heard of, and the girl turned out was a waitress at Olive Garden. But hey, it's a good way to get in there. Oh and if you're shocked, don't be, happens all the time.
Well that's all I have today, I could go on and on, but these are just some of the things I have dealt with first hand. The rest would have to go in a book, not a blog. But I will leave you with some more notes.
- The new North Carolina 100, 000 dollar agent law is STUPID, STUPID, and STUPID. If from what I read is true, this is truly a very bad idea, and will make the already hectic situation at the schools even worse. This is by far one of the not so bright ideas that any state has come up with.
- The Lockout sucks… that is all…
- An agent BUYING players, both currently in the NFL, and those rookies who were drafted is taking advantage of the situation. Yet I do not care to hear the "media" always talking about how great they are. If the former agent is fired because he wasn't doing his job, or is never available, then ok. But by becoming an ATM machine just to take advantage of a guys situation, just isn't cool.
Okay I'm sure that last post will probably get me in some trouble. But to each their own. Until next time. Peace
Monday, May 9, 2011
Bella, Young Mike Tyson, Rondo, Lakers, Boxing, Lockout, and some Agents … Don't get too mad at me…
This weekend was a pretty cool weekend. Living in Louisville I was caught up in all the Derby Festivities all weekend. I still managed to get my fix and share of Sports this weekend while enjoying the annual event. And below are some of my thoughts from this weekend and a statement that I am sure will draw some criticism from some. So without further ado… Let's Go…
- The Kentucky Derby Festival Parade is not the same parade I was use to seeing when I was little. The floats weren't great, and it looked like they just pulled some random people from the street and said, "You wanna be in the Parade today"? Louisville, we have got to do better. This event kicks off the weekend, and should be something that wows people. If you need my help for next year, hit me up, I would be happy to help organize…
- Celtics: Those who know me know I am a Celtics fan. And when the team went down 0-2 I received a lot of text messages and twitter post (ALFONSO SMITH). But I maintained they would not get swept, and in Game 3, they showed up. And when Rondo went down, I also thought they were done, but oh my, was that not the gutsiest play from a player all year? That was a player that wanted to play, needed to play, and nothing was going to keep him from playing. That showed HEART. And if they come back to win the series with Rondo at pg, he should when some kind of an award. Hell I may even get a plaque made and mail it to him myself.
- After that display, how in the H.E. double hockey sticks can the Lakers show up and play that way? Granted I am not taking anything away from the Mavs and Mark Cuban, who btw is one of my favorite owners in the NBA. But you couldn't help but feel bad for arguably the greatest coach in NBA history. Not even the Zen Master could get the boys ready. And the two fouls at the end of the game, especially the one by Bynum was just despicable. And although my opinion means nothing, I respect him less. Truly uncalled for and no place for that in sports. He could have really hurt someone. And did he even apologize?
- SUGAR Shane Mosely… While I was not expecting too much from Shane. I did expect more. The whole fight card was blah at best. Even Pavlic's fight was pedestrian. But Manny and Shane could have given the crowd more for their $54.95. I found myself excited maybe twice doing the whole fight. Shane looked like he really didn't want to be there. Which we should have expected. Leading up to the fight, he was all smiles, and too friendly with Pac Man. It was a fight that looked like me and my friend Newby shadow boxing in the backyard. It was an expensive sparring match. But I couldn't be to mad at him and his $5 Million dollar pay day. Didn't want to get to beat up, because he had to go home to Bella Gonzalez.
- Which brings me to my next point. WOW… Before that fight I never heard of her, but when she stood up to root Shane on, everyone in the room let out a collective "DAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNN", including the females! Instantly she began trending on twitter, and just made some money in the near future. And suddenly you didn't feel so bad for Shane after all. Bella, I know you have a manager, but if you need an agent… HIT ME UP…
- The Derby itself was a race. I really wasn't that excited this year mainly because there wasn't a horse that I could root for that had a legit shot of winning the Triple Crown. Don't get me wrong, congrats to Animal Kingdom, and I wish him the best, but I just don't see it happening. And to be honest, that is what the sport needs, that one HORSE that comes on the track and just "SHUTS IT DOWN". He should be named "The Young Tyson", and takes other horses out of the race before it even starts. I would follow that.
- Lastly, I will give my views on the lockout. And this is all I will say about it. During a recent poll that my friend conducted with 500 responses, one of the questions asked was, "Who's fault is the lockout?" Surprisingly almost 80% responded, "DON'T CARE, JUST GET BACK TO FOOTBALL". That really hit home, while the NFLPA and the Owners are still trying to win the PR battle with the fans, a lot of fans could care less about which side is right. You can get that feeling from Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. I asked the question yesterday, "Have we gone from getting a fair deal done, to just trying to stick it to the other side?" They say it takes time, but haven't we been preparing for 2 Years? I want a fair CBA just like the next person. But as an agent with players who did not hear their names called in the draft, I want a piece of mind more than anything. These young men are out here in Limbo, and no one really seems to care. What people don't understand is that some of these guys will contribute and turn out to be good football players, and it's a shame that they have to go through this. So I suggest, no matter what happens in the courts, can the owners lift the lockout for the weekend. Sign Free agents Thursday and Friday, then UDFA rookies Saturday and Sunday. Monday go back to paying a ton of money to lawyers to argue over something that could be done in mediation for free. But give these players a piece of mind.
- Lastly, it's being reported that agents are telling media sources that their players have been contacted by NFL teams during the lockout. And I have since been asked by some if I was one of them due to the clients I have, that SHOULD be PFA, but I personally have not been contacted by any teams during the lockout. There I am on the record as saying so. But to the agents, I do not agree with what you did, and I can only think you had other motives. I will explain…
By already being contacted about your players, you essentially have a deal in place for your guy with a team. Congrats, now you can give your player a piece of mind, and maybe you can sleep better tonight. But to go tell after you got your deal in place, leads me to believe that you did it so the NFL could crack down more, basically stopping teams from talking to other players, thus giving your guy an advantage. Don't get me wrong, it's good business, but it is also kind of a shady move in my opinion. Unless, when the team you called you said, "Hold up Mr. GM GUY, this is against the rules, and I would not be a part of it." But if you did that, wouldn't you state your name and the team name? Maybe not, But my point is on behalf of the other 300 UDFA players that would LOVE to know a team is that interested in them, and give them a piece of mind because in their minds this whole lockout mess is silly anyway, THANK YOU… Thank You for telling on scouts and coaches on this incident that is harming the basic fundamental fabric of the NFL. Because yes this is a real issue, and if teams do this, then the NFL as we know will cease to exist. Because heaven forbid coaches and scouts are looking out for the players that they have got to know, looking out for themselves and their families, and looking out to insure there is a quality product on the field when the NFL opens back its doors…
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I'm BACK… Did you miss me?
The 2011 NFL Draft came and went with a lot of surprises, some "WTH" moments, and some "eh, okay I can see why" picks. For me, the draft was a very disappointing weekend in that I did not have a player drafted. I felt more so for the players than myself however. I went through this last year. I had a player that I thought would be drafted, wasn't and made the 53 man roster. And this year's class is nothing different. Why it is nice to hear your name called, it still doesn't compare to running out on the field in the fall and strapping it up for meaningful games. And I really believe that the only reason the mood was so dapper is because the players didn't have contracts in their hands Saturday night. Thank you Lockout.
During Saturday afternoon's draft, my phone was blowing up with teams for my players. I felt confident that 3 were going to be taken by the 6th. When the 7th round came around, I was praying the teams didn't call and draft my player. I know that may sound strange, but the way the draft was going, I felt confident in the players chances of making a team that we will choose. Some were hurt, others were okay. The good thing is I had my own rankings, and I can say that the guys drafted in front of my guys were ranked higher or even then the guys I represent, except at cornerback. There were players that I thought would receive minimal interest that had my phone off the hook with coaches pitching for them. (A HUGE SURPRISE THAT I GUARANTEE NONE OF YOU KNOW ABOUT, THAT WILL BE ON A TEAM IN THE FALL)
All in all, I think it did more for the guys to not hear their names called. You talk about a player having a chip on his shoulder, well imagine a whole can of PRINGLES. I'm talking chips on top of chips on top of chips. And imagine this on both shoulders. Now imagine those shoulders are on the frame of a guy 6'8", 335 pounds, who is now pissed off. I feel sorry for some of the D ends and linebackers going against this guy. My cornerback was okay, He was the defensive 2 defensive player of the year. He will be in a camp, and he will be looking for blood as well. MOTIVATION is the key to fuel any fire, and by not hearing their names, I think a tanker size ship filled of gasoline was rammed into these guys at a speed of 50 knots!
And there are others as well that I am excited to see in camp. So this is a NOTICE to a lot of people out there.
Notice 1: Coaches, if you bring in one of my players, understand that they are coming for a spot on the 53 man roster. Other options are cool, but this is the PRIMARY goal.
Notice 2: Scouts, to the ones pushing to bring these guys in, I hope you get a BIG RAISE because they will make you look good next season.
Notice 3: Draftniks: When grading your favorite teams draft, remember to take into account that some of those picks will be cut.
Notice 4: EVERYBODY: If you thought I was a driven guy before. Watch me going forward. That's all I am saying about that.
I could send more notices but really what's the point? Maybe come September 4th, I'll eat these words. But at least I put out a notice, and I'm fine with that.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Lets’ see, a little about me. Well first of all I am Awesome. I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky, but live in Louisville. Pretty down to earth, yet very opinionated, and I have a tendency to wear my emotions on my sleeve sometimes, as my followers already know. I played football at DuPont Manual High School in Louisville. I was pretty good. Heavily recruited my junior year, broke my leg my senior year and most of the schools backed off. I still had some Div 1AA and some VERY small div 1 schools after me, but decided to go to Kentucky as a walk on. I wanted to get the best education possible because I knew I would never make it to the NFL.
Read the Rest
Monday, April 25, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
We now have 10 days until the 2011 NFL DRAFT. This is the final days were teams can bring players in on official visits. But before you get excited, you should realize that everyone your team brings in is not on your team's draft board. There are five types of visits in my opinion. And figuring out where this player stands is the most important piece to tell if your team is interested.
The first type of visit is the "They are interested in drafting me" visit. This is usually reserved for the projected 1st through 4th round players. Teams will bring them in to get to know them better because they are genuinely interested in sending that players name to the podium at the end of the month. They may even bring them in with other players at your position to try and find something that will separate the players besides what is on the field. If the player is outside that range but still goes on a visit. Ask yourself did the team personally work the player out. If they worked him out then brought him in, they may be high on this player and he is on their board at some point.
The next visit is the "They like me, but don't LIKE me visit". Despite the name, this isn't such a bad visit. This visit is reserved for a team to basically recruit you for a free agent contract after the draft. Whether the reason being, they don't have enough draft picks, there are other pressing needs that they have to fill, or that there is a disagreement within the organization. Whatever the reason, these players are draftable players on other team's boards, just not on your teams. But someone within the organization is high on this guy, and believe they can make the team as an UDFA.
Next we have the, "They just don't know me" visit. These visits are for guys who may have came out of nowhere their senior year, or played at a small school, and teams are scrambling to gather as much information about these guys as possible. Again, this visit could be a chance for the team to sell you to other members of the organization or to sell you on the prospect of joining their team as an UDFA.
"I feel like I'm being interrogated" is our next class of visits. These visits are information gathering visits. You may have an injury, and they want to do a physical. Or they heard rumors of drug use, and want to give you a test. Maybe you can't understand plays, so they draw them on the board. Or maybe, (and yes this has happened) they are bringing you in to ask you about your teammate. Yes, this does happen. They're not really interested in you, but your teammate, so they wine and dine you for information.
The last visit is the "Smokescreen". They are not interested in you plain and simple. But they bring the guy in so someone else can think they are interested in that player, and trade up or overdraft, or whatever they do. Why? Just so the team won't tip they're hand in who they are going to draft.
I hope this gave some kind of insight to visits and why agents don't get to excited over some, or depressed over lack of some. If you like, let me know, dislike, let me know too.
Until tomorrow… "May you not only be blessed, but a blessing to others as well"
Sunday, April 17, 2011
For those that do not know me, my name is Greg "Tripp" Linton. A former intern, scout, talent evaluator, and now NFLPA CERTIFIED agent with HOF Player Representatives. If you are reading this post, you probably follow me on twitter, and have somewhat of an understanding of who I am. If you don't, then buckle up and enjoy the ride. And again, WELCOME to my world.
We have less than 11 days until the 2011 NFL DRAFT. And due to the current state of the business that is the NFL (CBA), this should be one of the most unpredictable and entertaining drafts that I can remember. This is around the time when a lot of wrong information will fill the internet and find its way into every fans mock draft, and assessment of a prospect. Believe what you want and be careful of the things you decide to soak in. The thing that has me kind of hot right now are some of the people who write these reports. I understand they are just doing their job, and I respect a few, and I am friends with even more. But there are some things that I do not like that a lot of them do. And while agents should not be worried about this, a lot of us do read what is said, and do get upset about some of the comments.
If you have not seen a prospect, don't judge the player. I never understood how someone can judge a player that they have never even seen, whether it's good or bad. I would rather them say I haven't seen them. (Which a lot do and I commend them for this) Second hand information is also a bad source. Most agents are very involved with their clients, and will give you any information you made need, if you just ask. By being a former player, scout, and evaluator, I tend to know a lot about not only my clients, but many others as well.
Just for a background. Last season, I had a player that 12 "Draft Experts" (ones I polled) said was a late round prospect, and I should be happy if he was drafted in the sixth round. And that he would be nothing more than a spot player in the defense. There were two however who said they could see the player going fourth round, and that he had some skill. Well the player ended up drafted in the third round. But still because of what was written was dogged and there were players available that were light years better. All this player did was go on to be a starter for a team that finished 13-3.
The point is, there are many reasons why players are hyped, and reasons why some or not. I can't tell you what to believe and what not to believe, all I can say is do your homework and remember, A good college player, doesn't always mean a good NFL player.
Until Tomorrow… Be Easy World… May You not only be blessed, but a blessing to others as well.