Case- BDA Sports Management Speaks Baron Davis' Language
Do you think you would be good at babysitting egos? Think you can handle the fickle media, long hours, and first-class seats on airplanes and at sporting events? Then become a sport agent-it's good work if you can get it. And life will never be dull again. Some very large sport agencies-IMG and ProServ are two that come to mind-represent professional athletes in all sports. But many pro players use independent agents, and a growing number of these are lawyers. Agents handle all or part of a professional athlete's business affairs, including contract negotiations, product endorsements, licensing arrangements, personal appearances, public relations, and financial counseling.
Although agents don't like to reveal the commissions they get on the contracts they negotiate for their players, it appears that the average commission on players' contracts is between 3% and 5%-a good income when you consider how much some players earn.
Agents are regulated fairly carefully because the opportunities for defrauding players or misrepresenting them are legion. Regulators include state and federal governments, the agents themselves, the NCAA, and players' associations. All of these groups have, with varying success, adopted certification programs in attempts to monitor player agents. The best attempt so far has been spearheaded by the NCAA. The NCAA's endeavor to establish a uniform system for regulating athlete agents-the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA)- has been passed in the United States in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The act requires agents to register with a state authority to be able to act as an athlete agent in that state.53 Agents who represent MLB players must jump through a few hoops. To be certified by the players' association, for example, an agent must represent at least one member on a 40-man roster of an MLB club.54 The association has more than 300 agents on record. Why all the emphasis on regulating agents? It's because there are a lot of rules and regulations to meet, and also because large amounts of money can tempt people to bend the rules. So unfortunately, there is too much monkey business in the business of sport agency.
Agents are not supposed to communicate with college players, but some agents do this anyway. And when they get caught, everyone pays-the athletes, the colleges, the sport programs, and the fans. Athletes such as basketball players Marcus Camby (University of Massachusetts) and Ricky Moore (University of Connecticut) received gifts while in college. Gifts can range from money to airline tickets.55 College athletes often select an agent when they turn professional. One reputable agency is BDA Sports Management in Walnut Creek, CA. One of the most famous athletes represented by BDA Sports Management is Baron Davis who has played with Charlotte, New Orleans, Golden State, the LA Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and most recently the New York Knicks of the NBA.
Davis has founded the Baron Davis Foundation, which is designed to serve the common welfare of youth. Like Baron himself, Todd Ramasar, Baron's agent at BDA Sports Management, attended UCLA. Prior to joining BDA, Todd originally built Life Sports Management where he represented Baron. He has a mission to help athletes on and off the court. He looks for players with ability on the court, a willingness to learn the business side of basketball, and a desire to succeed when their playing career is over. BDA is a smaller agency than IMG or ProServ, and it is promoted as a full-service athlete management agency and marketing firm to professional basketball players.
Davis has said, "Todd is one of the most brilliant individuals I have ever met. He runs his company with the utmost respect and care for his clients. Having been with two previous agents, I have now found a home in BDA Sports Management. I trust him with my life! Period!"56 Baron Davis did trust Todd Ramasar one more time, and they negotiated a $1.4 million one-year contract with the New York Knicks for the 2012 NBA season.57 Even better, Davis is still owed a guarantee of $27 million of a $30 million deal he signed with Cleveland Cavaliers. It is fair to say that Ramasar has shown Davis the money!58 Information about BDA Sports Management can be found at www.bdasports.com.
Answer the following questions about communication between an agent and a player.
1. College athletes are not allowed to communicate with which of the following professionals?
d. media personnel
2. Todd Ramasar and Baron Davis made a great team because they both went to UCLA.
3. Baron Davis has had the same agent his entire professional career.
4. IMG is an independent agency that represents
a. football players
b. baseball players
c. tennis players
d. players from all sports
5. No rules govern the conduct of sport agents.
6. Marcus Camby was found to have communicated with agents while he was an amateur player in college.
7. What step of the communication process is being used if a player's agent and the team are working on the wording of the first draft of the player's contract?
8. What step of the communication process is being used if BDA Sports Management faxes a copy of a revised player contract back to the team?
9. Name three agents who represent athletes from the NFL and MLB.
10. Name two athletes who have had problems with their agents. What sort of communication barriers do you think were operative in each case?