Many major sports leagues have salary caps, which are limits on the amount of money each team can spend on player payrolls per year. This number can include such things as signing bonuses in addition to regular salaries. Violating the cap imposes penalties such as fines and the loss of draft choices. Salary cap managers ensure compliance with league mandates.
Study and become familiar with a professional sport such as football, its teams, its players and their contracts. You need extensive background in your selected area of expertise and its business, which you cannot obtain by going to school. Instead, you must watch games, listen to the opinions of sports analysts, read player contracts (collective bargaining agreements) and analyze draft choices. All professional leagues, such as the National Football League, and their teams have websites that dispense information on their contracts and finances.
Obtain a college degree in a relevant subject such as financial analysis or sports management. Salary cap managers come from such varied backgrounds as law and finance, and most have undergraduate degrees. Math and finance provide the skills for analyzing numbers and judging compensation, business courses enlighten about contracts and their nuances, and management and sales courses show techniques of negotiation.
Go through a sports capology course such as the one offered by Sports Management Worldwide. This eight-week program covers collective bargaining agreements, salary cap rules, contract valuations and negotiations, free agency systems, payroll and market assessments, and rookie draft calculations. The course is available online and grants a certificate as well as transferable credits for undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Find an internship with a sports team or a sports league, which is generally available in a variety of disciplines. For example, postings at the time of publication include a graphic design internship with the Kansas City Chiefs and an operations position with Contemporary Services Corporation, which handles event management for the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only does an internship grant practical experience in the business of sports, it develops a network of contacts.
Work for a professional sports team. There are only as many salary cap managers as there are teams and leagues, so the job is rare and not advertised. The best way to obtain a position as a salary cap manager is to be in the right place at the right time. Working for a team enables you to track openings from the inside. You can also make yourself visible to the managers and staff who make hiring decisions.