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Sports agents are individuals who help athletes make the most of their professional career. Agents promote their clients with team owners and coaches, negotiate salary deals and keep abreast of all the developments in the field to best advise their clients. There are a number of pros and cons to having, or being, a sports agent.
You Need To Train
The reason you need a sports agent in the first place is that you are a professional athlete. To stay competitive, you have to spend time working out and practicing. Issues, such as salary negotiations, networking and self-promotion all take away time you could have spent in the gym or on the field to stay sharp or improve your skills. If you spend too much time managing your career, you may end up as a less than desirable athlete.
Athletes earn money directly from team salaries and indirectly from product endorsements and merchandising. As an athlete, not only do you not have the time to seek out the people to set these deals up, but chances are you don't even know where to find these opportunities. Agents network for a living and have experience representing other players. They can set up all the deals to earn you money from endorsements and merchandising.
Bad Sports Agents
The first drawback to having a sports agent is that they make money by taking a cut of the money you earn. Additionally, there are a lot of agents on the market; with whom you sign a contract can have significant effects on your career. If you pick a bad agent, you could find yourself on worse teams with worse deals than you feel your skill deserves.
As an aspiring professional athlete, one route you might take is to go to a college with an excellent program in your sport. This lets you develop as an athlete under excellent coaches and gives you a stage to get noticed by the pros. However, getting noticed can be a mixed blessing. Agents that suspect you are the next big thing in sports will try to persuade you to sign with them. Their charm campaign may include gifts and money, which can be enticing to a college student with no immediate income. But, taking money from these sources as a college athlete is strictly against NCAA regulations. If you get caught, you could lose your eligibility to play. This could threaten your prospects of making it into the pros.
Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.