Sports Career Planning

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Introduction

So what is Sport Management? According to Pitts and Stotlar (2007), the term sport management refers to “the study and practice of all people, activities, businesses, or organizations involved in producing, facilitating, promoting, or organizing any sport-related business or product”. The areas that I would like to focus on is sport law and sport agent.

Sport law is laws that govern athletes and is the guidelines to how they play. Sport law isn’t just one law with principles, it refers to several different aspects of the topic. “Sport law refers to “contract, TORT, agency, antitrust, constitution, labor, trademark, sex discrimination, criminal, and tax issues” (“sports law”). “Sport Law can be roughly divided into the areas of amateur, professional, and international sports” (“LII Staff, 2015”). It’s hard to decide who is a professional athlete and who is an amateur athlete because amateur students/athletes still receive a form of compensation for their play, whether it be a scholarship, housing arrangements or even job opportunities after college. When even have to deal with that fact that some athletes might be considered an amateur by some but others they are not. In this case, we could say the players who are in the minor leagues are amateurs but technically they can still be considered professional because they are associated with the professional teams but they just aren’t paid as much. One of the most popular and important amateur organization is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

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The NCAA is in charge of over 1000 member colleges and universities. “Although roughly 50% of the NCAA’s members are sponsored by state governments, the Supreme Court has suggested that the eligibility rules of the NCAA are not state action for constitutional law purposes. State action status may also be a factor in mandatory drug testing rules”(“LII Staff, 2015”). Drug testing is one of the many things that division I and II athletes have to sign and agree to do at any more to participate at the college level.

On the other hand, professional sports are different. When it comes to sport law the thing we have to recognize is the relationship between the individual player and the team owner. Their relationship is run by a few basic principles. Each player has a contract that serves as a guideline employment contract between owners and players. Each contract isn’t the same it can be modified to each player’s wishes and needs and the talents of each player. “With the increase in salaries in professional sports, most players are now represented by agents.

Typically, this relationship is governed by a Standard Representation Contract which defines the duties and compensation of the agent. In an attempt to regulate agent activities, many state legislatures now require agents to register with some type of administrative agency”(“LII Staff, 2015”). Agents can serve as a lawyer type figure to athletes which I will touch upon later. Antitrust problems have always been present when it comes to professional sports leagues. Antitrust is relating to legislation preventing or controlling trusts or other monopolies, with the intention of promoting competition in business(“LII Staff, 2015”).

In the search for a career in sport law I saw a posting for Staff Attorney in Los Angeles, CA. The job is an entry-level position. “Jackson Lewis P.C. is a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries”(Lewis). This company is a workplace law representative to management that includes the flowing practices; government relations, healthcare, and sports law. This company has a lot of duties and responsibilities that stood out to me. An employee has to be able to handle the defense of discrimination, lawsuits that entail a large range of employment sanctioned claims and guidance involving issues that are similar to the ones listed above. You will be held accountable for being able to successfully represent employers in court, before administrative agencies, at mediations and arbitration. You would be handlining matters in the area of employment, discrimination, contract, employment tort, and non compete cases.

The next job opportunity I would like to talk about is the Sport Agent. Like I stated above a sport agent is like a lawyer type figure for athletes. Sport agents can help sign new players and help players sign to the right team, negotiate salaries, and form relationships. One of the most important jobs a sport agent has is identifying new talent. They can find players in all different types of sports including but not limited to; ice skating, hockey, basketball, football, baseball and a lot of other sports. Professional athletes are required to have an agent to help them acquire the best deals and get them everything they need to be successful. When it comes to signing new players sports agents have to keep watch on all social media and the hottest news to find players who need help and to be managed. “They might fly across the country to meet with athletes living on both coasts and the Midwest, and they might spend hours meeting with those players and their families every day”(“What Does a Sports Agent Do?”).

Agents need to know how to persuade athletes into signing with them so they have to know how to present themselves in a way that the athletes feel comfortable enough to trust them. Agents have the power to negotiate salaries.

The way this works is the agent figures out what the athlete wants and what the team they are looking at offers and figure out a happy medium. This keeps the player happy and the team owner happy, it’s a win-win. Often times the gent will look at what other teams are offering and try to find the best deal for their client. An agent can also help a player negotiate endorsement deals with major companies(“What Does a Sports Agent Do?”). Sport agents need to have the ability to form relationships because this is one of the important tasks that an agent has to do. This allows the agent to connect with their client and learn about where they come from and develop an idea of what the athlete wants. “After meeting a player’s family, an agent might work harder at helping a player get a contract that will let that athlete remain close by”(“What Does a Sports Agent Do?”). Clients will respect their agents more if they see they actually care about them and their family. Agents can also help players figure out what to do after they retire. They can assist them with looking for jobs as analyst and broadcasters(“What Does a Sports Agent Do?”).

In my search for job opportunities in being a sport agent, I found an advertisement for the Student Sports Agent Program. This is an opportunity to help get my name out there and get my feet wet. The Chris L. Davis Agency is looking to build their sports agency team. They plan to do this by teaching students who have an interest in becoming a sport agent. They plan on teaching them what they need to know about becoming an agent and the skills they will need to be able to close cases successfully. They also will teach them the rules and regulations that sports agents have to follow. This program is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina (Davis, Chris L., 2018.)

A big part of building a great resume is having a good set of strengths and weaknesses. Business love to hear about what your strengths but your weaknesses are also important because that’s what denies you as a person. You can’t better yourself if you don’t know what you need to improve you. My strengths include the following; strong-willed, adventurous, environment adaptive, calm, good listener, educated, independent, open-minded, confident, courageous and optimistic. My weaknesses include; being hesitant, care too much about what people think, passive, and overthinking. In the workplace, your strengths and weakness should include knowledge, skills, and abilities(KSAs). My strengths include: being computer oriented, bachelor’s degree in criminal justice(in the progress), people skills, analytical problem solving, patient, determined, disciplined, respectful planning skills, dedicated, honest, reliable, trustworthy, versatile, formal, team player, hard-working, and completing tasks better than expected in other words going above and beyond. My weaknesses include only knowing one language, attempting to please everyone, being too hard on myself and perfectionism.

Most employers look for your career objective on your resume. They want to see how driven you are and what you expect to get out of your employment. My career objective is to obtain a position in sports law or sport agent using the skills and knowledge I gained over the four years of college and 8 years of work experience I already have. I hope to obtain a position that has the opportunity to move up in the company. I don’t want to settle for less I want to rise to the top(McGrath 2010).

To develop a successful career plan you need to have a few different strategies. First I will have to figure out what my goals are. My goals would be the find a least five different jobs that I qualify for and apply. When I’m looking for jobs I have to figure out where I want to live and how much I would need to get paid. Also, I would have to look at the benefits that are offered at each job. Next, I have to build a perfect resume. Every job is going to require you to have a resume and its important that its professional and states everything the employer need to know about you. Now I have become aware of my strengths and weaknesses. You don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage applying for a job that you know you won’t succeed in. You have to make sure that your strengths are going to out way your weaknesses in the work field.

Next would be to set your stands. Setting your standards at a high level is a great way to start your career because in your mind you can never settle for anything less and if you rise above the standard you set then you’ll be golden. Setting your standards high is often the way to be more successful. Next is to figure out how to set yourself apart from others. What makes you better than the next person? This is called branding yourself. This is very important because it makes it easier for companies to make to make their choice on whom to pick. Say you are competing for a job and the other person has the same amount of experience and education as you but you’re bilingual. They are always going to pick you. Having several traits is a good thing to have under your belt. Next is making sure that you have a strong networking profile such as LinkedIn, facebook, and twitter. You can find a lot of employers on these social media sites especially LinkedIn. Linkedin is the job version of Facebook. You build your profile and employers can see what you have to offer. Another important thing is to make sure your social media is clean, you don’t want an employer to come across of a picture of you intoxicated and making a fool of yourself, that’s not professional. After completing all of there are tasks I would submit my applications and wait for them to respond and weigh out which one fits me best(Wislow 2017).

Conclusion

Having a timeline for your career development is also important. You want to make sure you are meeting deadlines and can accomplish all of your goals. But at the same time looking at every opportunity very carefully, you don’t want to be trapped at a job for the rest of your life that you make. The worst thing is waking up every day and hating going to work, you want to like your job and enjoy going. It’s not all about money it’s also about happiness because what’s money without happiness? My timeline starts senior year. First, you have to make sure you have an internship or at least have one lined up for the following year. Next is to start the job search. You don’t need to submit anything yet but get some options to figure out deadlines. By spring semester you have narrowed down what jobs you wanted and maybe even applied, the sooner the better.

You don’t want to get out of school and not know what to do with yourself. Next, once you have figured out what job or internship you wanted you to have to figure out living situations. Once you have that figured out you sit back and wait until graduation. After graduation is when you would start your job. You will be starting at an entry level position so I think it’s safe to say that you should set a goal to move up in between 1-2 years. The goal is to move up until you can’t move anymore.  

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