Thursday, January 4, 2007

Free Agency part 2...

There are 2 types of free agents. Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) and a Restricted Free Agent (RFA). UFA = "[a] player [that] shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with such player, without penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind." A UFA can sign with any team for any amount of money without that team having to give the original team any compensation. When a player with five or more accrued seasons (or with four or more accrued seasons in any Capped Year) reaches the end of his player contract, he becomes an UFA.

A RFA is "any Veteran player with three or more accrued seasons, but less than five accrued seasons (or less than four accrued seasons in any capped year)... At the expiration of his last Player Contract during such period... [the player] shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any club, and any club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any such player, subject to... certain restrictions." The restrictions are the fun part.

There is one other kind of free agent, which isn't really very "free" at all. That is the Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA). Such a player has no more than two accrued seasons in the NFL and may only sign with his prior team, provided, of course, that the team extends a minimum qualifying offer to the player.

Even with all those free agency options teams still have two options to help them in securing their free agents the Franchise Tag and the Transition Tag. Any team can designate any one of their RFA or UFA a franchise player. That means that player is only allowed to deal with his current team. The team must tender the player at least a one year contract that is the minimum of the average of the five largest salaries (as of April 15) for players at the position at which he played the most games during the prior year, or 120% of his prior year salary, whichever is greater.

Tomorrow we will sum up transition tags and free agents as a whole. I will leave you with today's quote from Winston Churchill

"Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm"

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Free agency...

Today I thought I might do a little research on free agency. I wanted to understand more about how it all worked with franchising and transition players. As I started delving into it all I found out it was a lot more complicated than I had originally thought. So today I will talk about how free agency came to be, and tomorrow I will get into more specifics.

It all started back in 1931 when Browns owner Phil Ball filed a lawsuit against Judge Kennesaw Landis for a restraining order in an attempt to keep him from granting free agency to some of his farm club players for contract violations. It really didn't come to fruition until 1969 when Curt Flood challenged the legality of a team's claim to the right to perpetually renew a player's contract. He filed suit against MLB and lost, but the case went all the way to the supreme court.

In December 1975, the players finally won their right to free agency. The very first free agent was Catfish Hunter who signed for the Yankee's for 3.7 million. The process has undergone many changes over the years to increase sports spectators and team revenues. Thus spawned CBA's or collective bargaining agreements. Because the free agency and cba gave the players too much power the owners decided to check and balance the system with salary caps. Free agency is also limited by the team’s ability to protect certain athletes (Franchise and Transition players) from leaving by paying a salary equal to an average of the top players at his position. Salary caps are caps on the amount of money any one team can spend on players in the year but teams are allowed to amortize the large amounts of signing bonuses over the life of the contract.

Tomorrow I will elaborate more into defining the specifics.

Today's quote is by Theodore Roosevelt
"Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly, I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Thanks be to Darren...

As I sit down for the night to gather my thoughts, I was peeping around all my favorite sites to see what new happened today and low and behold gave me some nice kudos. I want to welcome all you frequenters of Darren's wonderful site. His site helped inspire me to start my own, and while I may never reach the sophistication of Darren's site, I will try to keep you updated on a daily basis.

Today's progress was pretty good. My coworker who is going to introduce me to Ken Kremer, gave me the name and contacts of another one of his friends who is the director of ministry operations for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It may not sound like much but they have a lot of volunteer work with big time stars in all sports. When the new year gets settled in more I am going to see about volunteering for them when I have time. If nothing else I think it will look good on internship resumes for the big name sports agency firms. This guy is also affiliated with Athletes in Action.

Again I want to give props to Darren Heitner for the mention and hope to repay him with more comments on his great topics. Make sure you click on all his advertisement links to help support his tremendous effort. I am also going to leave you with a quote for today to help keep you inspired.

Vance Havne
"The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs."

Monday, January 1, 2007

What were they thinking...

Who in their right mind gives a 7 year contract to a 28 year old 3.83 era worth 126 million dollars. No one, the only explanation is the magical wacky weed must be strong in San Fransisco. My hat's off to Scott Boras who somehow managed to get star quality money for a player who had one great season and 5 mediocre ones.

Lets assume he starts 30 games a season for the next 7 years that comes to over 600k a game. According to sports illustrated the average ticket price in Giants stadium is $24.53( ) just to cover their delusional asses they need to sell over 24,000 additional tickets every time Zito pitches. Who ever made that terrible business decision needs an extreme amount of shock therapy.

Scott Boras you are my idol

Sunday, December 31, 2006

As the new year rolls in...

It is not only important to set goals for yourself in life, but more importantly to do everything in your power to achieve them. Whatever your goals might be make sure to have them however small they may be. My new year's goal is to keep this blog going. I have been going strong for a week now and it challenges me to keep moving forward in my dream to become a successful sports agent.

As I walked thru Walmart this weekend with my wife I was looking for some lent brushes couldn't find any so I asked the first employee I saw. My mistake, here I thought someone who stocked shelves at walmart might know where something is. The first person's response was "that's not my area, try back in housewares". We proceeded to housewares and found the first employee I could. "Mam, could you please point us in the direction of the lent brushes?" I would love to give you a quote from her but it was more like a grunt and a nod. She clearly didn't know what I was asking. At this time I realized asking an employee there was a waste of time. I turned around and not more than 5 feet from where this second lady was stocking items was a lent brush. It never ceases to amaze me at how ignorant our society is becoming. Even people who lack the ability to put together a sentence are given jobs in a people oriented service industry. These people did not challenge themselves. They did not push themselves to conform to society norms, Instead they take the lazy easy way out, make minimum wage and are prepared to blame their own misfortune on the world.

You are what you make of yourself. If you have a dream don't lose sight. At some point in life we all fall down. I have had my falls believe me, at 28 I have experienced many highs and lows in my life. Stallone put it best in rocky 90 that came out this week "its how hard of a hit can you take and still keep moving forward." This new year's stick to your resolution, if you fail you can always blame the world like the rest of the unsuccessful. As for me I will keep getting back up and moving forward, whatever life throws at me.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

If you choose education...

Like I have, then you would be ignorant to not do a dual degree program. The JD/MBA programs are offered at all the schools that have a business and a law school. This option gives you much more flexibility both in your studies and in your fall back job options should you not have what it takes to become an agent. A dual degree is not something that will be easy. It may even require more time devoted to school but the length of time it takes to attend school won't be extended. You can finish a dual MBA/JD in 2-3 years the same amount of time it would take to do just one.
Even though I am starting my sports agent plan 3 years before school is over I am also starting my backup plan. Currently I work for a Hospital consulting firm. With 3 years experience at this firm while attending school I will be all but assured a top executive job at a hospital when I graduate. The hospital industry use to exclusively only hire graduates with a masters in health care administration. That approach proved to be extremely flawed. As I see on a daily basis the majority of the health care industry is so screwed up management wise that the turnover on top positions is 25% a year. Hospitals are now looking for management with more of a business background. A CFO or CEO at a hospital starts at about 150k for smaller hospitals and scales up to 1.5mil for the larger institutions.
It is very important that you don't go into the sports agent business without a backup plan, as is the case with any job. Just because you have a backup plan doesn't mean your giving up on your dream. I just means you have the mental capacity to understand that some people aren't made for certain jobs/industries.
I have made a list of the top 50 law schools and Business schools in the country.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Education or experience

I don't think its any secret the sports agent world is dog eat dog. With the number of agents growing every day the question remains; Is it better to spend an extra 3 years in school, or spend that time learning the ropes and getting your foot in the door with just a 4 year degree?

An argument can be made for either side. Most agents who are in the business are not super successful. Some take a shot because they are former athletes, some have all the credentials to be a successful agent but no personality, and others have all the personality but no education to back it. Now days It seems that athletes are looking for more one stop shops. They like the ability the bigger firms have to handle all the sections of their life and career. They would rather not be bothered with life's menial nuances. This mentality tends to favor the individuals who have more scholastic experience. One of the biggest draw backs to completing ones education before becoming a sports agent is the education loans that follow.

Most successful agents won't make meaningful money for the first few years. It takes time to build a reputation and network. With the added cost of law/business schools this makes the first few years even tougher on the newbie agent. This is where someone with just a 4 year degree has an advantage. Their loans are not as steep, their earning potential in corporate America is not as high, so the income they might be sacrificing by becoming an agent may be pennies compared to the fancy law/MBA grad.

Most of the problems the extremely educated agents have is they lose their passion for the job while finishing the education. They see the disparaging compensation difference between what is guaranteed earnings in corporate America to what they could potentially earn as a sports agent.
According to Business Week's guide to the best business schools the median total pay package for an MBA graduate from one of the top 15 business schools ranges from 135-165k a year. That type of money is tough to turn down your first year out of business school to take a chance in a dog eat dog industry. A lot of peoples priorities change while in school and they don't graduate with the same reckless mentality they had going in. They are ready to settle down, ready for security. That security is not provided in the sports agent business.

The upside for the educated charismatic individuals who stick to the game plan is they have a huge advantage over other prospective agents. Would you rather have your contract in the hands of someone who is an extremely smooth talker, or someone who is an extremely smooth talker and has an MBA/law degree?

Do you have what it takes to become an agent?