Labor Peace, Possible Expanded Playoffs in MLB Mean Opportunities for Job Seekers

It’s funny how sports works. A few years ago, everyone was talking about how Major League Baseball was a dying sport. Each and every time a labor agreement expired there was a strike or a lockout, something that disgusted fans and turned them off to the game.

But, if there were every an opportunity to get in on the ground-floor in sports right now, it may be baseball where the most chances will arise.

The reasons are two-fold: For one, the aforementioned labor strife has been set aside for a more warm and fuzzy MLB. Strangely, the sport that has no hard salary cap to speak of has the least chance of a work stoppage next December when the current CBA expires, and it’s the NBA and NFL that are on the edge of a strike or lockout.

The other change could be here as soon as next season, or in 2012. Commissioner Selig has said he wants, and Michael Weiner the head of the MLB Players Association has said the players are receptive to, expanding the playoffs. Talk is of adding two additional Wild Card teams, and possibly expanding the Division Series to a best of 7, as opposed to the current best of 5.

With the additional chances of teams getting into the postseason, there should be increased fan interest, and clubs will see there’s further opportunity to get into the playoffs. All this means good things for those looking to break into the business of baseball.

Think about it: with clubs seeing more opportunity, they will likely increase scouting. Increase the use of sabermetrics. Increase developing talent.

With this just around the corner, your chance is NOW to get educated through SMWW’s online courses, and better yet, attend our Baseball Career Conference in Lake Buena Vista, FL December 5-6th. The conference coincides with the Baseball Winter Meetings where off-season activity is at some of its highest meaning your ability to network is all the greater!

Who’s going to be at the conference? Stan Kasten, the former President of the Washington Nationals who is being talked of as being the next commissioner of the league, Jim Duquette, the former GM of the Baltimore Orioles and NY Mets who is currently with MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM, Chaim Bloom  the Assistant Director of Minor League Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, and many, many more.

Make sure and come out. You can register here. Remember, opportunity is knocking in baseball. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

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30

10 2010

Matt Moore Will Be More Ready This Time

Sometimes, the best opportunity in life can come when things seem the worst. While Carolina Panther fans may not see something to smile about, Matt Moore may get a chance to. Off to an 0-5 start, Panthers coach John Fox is sitting rookie QB Jimmy Clausen and giving Moore a shot.

“We have struggled on offense since the beginning of the season,” Fox said in a statement on Monday. “Sometimes it helps to step back and watch, and Matt has had a chance to do that.”

After more than 15 years of being a sports agent, I started SportsManagementWorldwide after seeing the movie Jerry Maguire. My main motivation out of SMWW was to provide an agency that would always strive to have a one-on-one personal relationship with each and every client, during the good time and the bad.  When Moore was benched in favor of Clausen, I kept in touch daily with Matt’s agent advisor Joe Aloisi.  Joe updated me on his conversations with Matt. In our talks, I have been impressed with the relationship Matt has made with Joe.

SMWW’s agent advisor concept depends many times on pre-existing relationships that the agent advisor has had with a client. Joe watched Matt play high school football as a quarterback and then as freshman at UCLA when he made the transition to the colligate level. When Moore was benched, he realized he would need to transfer to continue his play winding up at Oregon State University. I personally watched Matt go through some rough times before he began to settle in at QB and lead the Beavers to an outstanding year as a senior including the upset of USC when they were ranked Number One.

Now that Matt has been named the starter this week for the Carolina Panthers I find myself excited not only for him, but for his agent advisor, and SMWW. During the tough times. I felt we were at our best in supporting our client. And hopefully, Matt Moore makes the most of his situation this Sunday… and beyond.

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19

10 2010

Available for comment: Ethical Certified NFL Agent of 15 years who trains agents – available for comment on SI Cover story

Sports Management Worldwide President & NFL Certified Agent of 15 years having represented over 50 NFL Clients, Dr. Lynn Lashbrook is available anytime for any ETHICAL quotes in regards to Sports Illustrated Cover Story.

He can be reached by cell phone: 503-407-2959 till 11pm Pacific Time. He is also available via email at lynn@smww.com

Lynn is available for comment in regards to the agency business:

  • NCAA needs more enforcers
  • NCAA should consider a sting operation
  • NFLPA should ban for life those agents who are caught
  • NFLPA should not allow agents to represent college coaches and athletes. (The NHL and the NBA do not.)
  • Compliance officer and AD need to be more vigilant
  • We need people with integrity as agents since you cannot legislate integrity
  • Lashbrook was one of 2 finalists to be Ryan Leaf’s agent…and never paid him a dime.
  • SMWW trains Sports Agents the ethical way…trying to change the industry

Sports Management Worldwide is #1 Leader in Sports Business Education with students and faculty from over 125 countries and over 5000 alumni working in sports.

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14

10 2010

Before Colleges Cut Sports, They First Need To Fire Poor-Performing Professors, Just Like Coaches!

You don’t have to be a business to feel the crunch of the chilly economy. For that matter, you don’t have to see it in the cuts to services, be it jails, police, or fire staffing. As the world goes, so do sports.

At the collegiate level, the concern has been about how much money pours into athletic programs. One look at the increase in funding that have been used for the Oregon athletics program (one, mind you, that had been saying was self-sufficient), it’s clear that, at least for now, it’s costing more to run athletics than the revenues they pull in. Look no further than Cal who is seeing baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, ruby, and lacrosse axed from their program in order to cut $4 million and keep Cal in compliance with Title IX gender equity requirements.

With every university in the country feeling the turmoil of an economy as chilly as the winter snow, the funding of college athletics becomes an easy target for faculty and the media.  As a longtime faculty member with over 40 years experience, as well as a former academic advisor and director of athletics, I feel college presidents must stand up to the pressures that their faculty continue to pile on college athletics.  The issue is one of bureaucracy, as much as anything.

Simply put, when academic departments drop their  tenure policy and are willing to evaluate each professor on their latest accomplishments and terminate those who have become complacent and ineffective then they will realize how a strong vibrant athletic department has be accountable to their performance and an annual basis.  Maybe it is time for Professors to Face the Scrutiny Coaches Face Every Weekend!  Talk about Pressure!

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Students as Stakeholder Should Demand a BCS Playoff System!

Each year, there’s a clamor for it. The logic (unfounded as it may be) is that a playoff system in Division 1 NCAA football would kill off the Bowls and Conference Championships that are a cash cow for the universities and their programs.

As if!

As the founder of BCSbusters.com website for years I have come to the conclusion the only way we will get the college football coaches, Athletic Directors, and Conference Commissioners to install a true playoff system with a national championship game outside the BCS system is when the students demand it. Simply put student fees around the country are significant enough on each campus to classify a student association as one of the largest boosters in the program.  According to USA Today, the amounts going to athletics are soaring, and account for as much as 23% of the required annual bill for in-state students.

Once students realize how much they are collectively contributing through fees they will begin demanding a playoff to recover much of the lost revenue.  Like the Tea Party once the idea catches on I predict a playoff sooner than later.

Visit bcsbusters.com today

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05

10 2010

Potential Pro Prospects Are Born Everyday, Everywhere!

There was a compelling article this past week within the Wall Street Journal regarding the percentage of athletes that hail from small towns as opposed to large cities. As I read through “Why Small Towns Breed Pro Athletes” it reinforced my vision of SportManagementWorlwide’s Agency. From that vision I remind agent advisors daily that you have the ability over all other sports agents to excel from your background and location.  The article reports that, “Only one-in-four Americans come from towns of fewer than 50,000 people, but nearly half of NFL players and PGA golfers do, according to two recent studies.” The notion that colligate athletes today come from large cities has given way to the reality that small towns and villages around the globe are still where many star athletes are born and retain their ties.

SMWW has had students from 125 different countries enroll in one or more of our courses over the past 8 years.  If one accepts the theory that the most important attribute of a pro athlete is his or her God-given talent as opposed to something manufactured, then over time, the odds of a prospect residing in the agent advisor’s town (no matter how small and how remote the village) are still good. The idea is, you may only need look past your own nose to find talent that can be cultivated.

As I travel around the world and attend sporting events, I believe as each sport grows globally there are elite athletes in one sport or another who, given the opportunity, might be a better fit for another sport.  The world may be getting smaller but the landscape of recruiting has expanded exponentially! To me Global Warming means warming up to a changing world.

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27

09 2010

NFL Blackouts Will Be Blacked Out Someday Soon

Let’s face it, there’s a reason the saying is, “There’s no place like home.” The creature comforts of it, along with the relaxed knowledge in knowing that “home” is a safe haven for relaxation is why more and more are doing “staycations” instead of vacations.

The advent of home theater systems have brought that aspect into the sports world.

Several weeks ago I attended a game at the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium with the largest video display in the world. Transfixed, instead of looking at the field, I found myself watching most of the game on the video display.  As impressive as it was – and is – I compared my home HD TV in relationship to the seats and the Big Screen at Cowboy Stadium. Not only did I miss my home HD TV I also realized I have free parking in my driveway vs. $40 parking at the Stadium, and the other creature comforts (stand in line for the bathroom at a sporting event sometime, and you’ll think of yet another!).

Fast forward to my visit to the Oregon State game in Corvallis during the rain and my $3 coffee at halftime , my 2 hour drive there and 4 hour return drive home and I concluded I had a great time because of family, friends and the love I have for the college game day experience. Even though I missed my HD TV, the experience for that game outweighed what I took in at Cowboy Stadium.

Back to the NFL, the increased viewing experience that HD, and now 3D television has to offer, makes me feel, now more than ever, that the NFL’s blackout rule is arcane.  For years it has been used as leverage to persuade fans to purchase tickets and attend home games or lose a chance to watch on TV.  In this economy and with the HD TV I think we are seeing a “Sizemic” change in the future of stadiums as well as the challenges sports venues have in selling out games.  The good news is we will always need the backdrop of fans at a stadium for the game to be attractive on TV.  The bad news is I think NFL teams are going to have to lower ticket prices and work harder than ever to sell tickets.

The good news for SMWW is we offer a course that trains students how to sell and teams are going to have to increase their staffs to keep those stadiums full. We always say, “You have to have ticket to the game to catch a foul ball”. As we see it, every empty seat is an opportunity.  The threat of a blackout is not going to work much longer. Advertisers on TV will demand those eyeballs if they expect those commercial spots to remain at the current level.  It really is a Catch-22!

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22

09 2010

Athletes Deserve a Second Chance If Agent Can Make A Difference

Most have forgotten about Adrian McPherson. The former 19-year-old freshman starting quarterback at Florida State University was released from the school in 2002 after being arrested on misdemeanor and felony check forgery charges. The case drug out in court, where a the case came up with a hung jury. A month later, McPherson pled no-contest to felony theft and forgery charges and an illegal gambling misdemeanor.

That was seemed the end of McPherson. An incredible prospect was thought to be lost over criminal activity. Years passed…. Now, McPherson is playing professional football, north of the border with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

When people ask me if I would represent an athlete who has been involved in off-the-field trouble, I have always said if the agent advisor can prove to me that he or she has a relationship with the client and feel we can make a difference, we should consider representing him or her.

When SMWW agent advisor Elliot Washington – who has been with our company since its inception – asked if we could represent Adrian the second time around, I knew it would be a good match. After all, Elliot was McPherson’s former high school coach. Adrian started last Saturday for the Allouettes and had an incredible performance after making the most of an opportunity filling the shoes Anthony Calvillo, the starting QB for the Alouettes who was injured for Saturday’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Showing the brilliance he had as a college freshman standout threw, McPherson  for 238 yards and a TD along with 121 yards rushing for the 27-6 win.

Needless to say, SMWW is very proud of Adrian, Elliot and very happy for Head Coach Marc Trestman, who at one time served as an instructor for our Football GM and Scouting Course.  This story is a Win-Win!

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15

09 2010

Relationships Have To Be Stronger Than The Competition Trying To Steal Your Client

When SMWW client Ross Weaver, out of Michigan State, was signed by the Dolphins immediately after the draft with a $7,500 signing bonus I was delighted for his opportunity.  Within an hour from the signing Jeff Ireland, GM of Dolphins, called me to say we have a problem. Perplexed, I couldn’t imagine what it was.  They wanted Ross fly in for mini camp the next day and Ross said he couldn’t because he had a final project presentation for his Engineering Class for graduation.  I was so impressed with that.  Since I was a formed Academic Advisor I knew in this situation any professor would understand he should report and do a make up later.  With confidence and trust Ross took my advice and as I promised him the professor will accommodate.  Needless to say I felt Ross Weaver was a special person!

Last Thursday I met Weaver, now of the Miami Dolphins, for the first time after the game at Cowboy Stadium.  Even though he is being co-represented by two of our agent advisors, I tried to meet everyone of our clients during the season. That following Saturday Ross was released by the Dolphins and by Sunday he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks to their practice squad.

For those that haven’t followed the actions of Drew Rosenhaus, the Dolphins training camp has been a hunting ground of sorts for him. Since the start of the year, seven Dolphins players have dumped their existing agents and signed with the hyper-aggressive agent, giving him 10 clients on the Dolphins roster.

One of my colleagues asked me if I was relieved that Weaver is out of Miami knowing that I no longer have to worry about Rosenhaus “stealing him” from our agency.  My response was that I want the relationship to be strong enough we do not have to worry about a client leaving for Rosenhaus, or any other agency, for that matter.

True, just a year ago before I was to meet for the first time with Dolphin player Anthony Armstrong, he switched from SMWW to Rosenhaus.  Simply put, we did not have a strong relationship with the young man and I was philosophical about situation.

Having the opportunity to work with Ross signing with Seattle and discussing his availability with Cowboys when they contacted me on Sunday as well as intercepting him at the Detroit airport and making sure he had time with his family before flying on Seattle was a bonding experience.  Since I had never received a phone call from the Dolphins when he was put on waivers I called Jeff Ireland to discuss his situation.  Jeff apologized for not calling me immediately on Saturday and informed me if he had still been available on Monday they would have remained interested in the possibility of signing him to their practice squad and try him at safety. After a nice call with Jeff, I called Ross to see how everything was in Seattle and told him about my conversation. A funny thing happened on the way to Seattle…. he now has been moved to Safety.

When I started SportsManagementWorldwide I based the concept on relationships, relationship, relationships; not location, location, location! There will always be the Rosenhauses of the world, but it’s far more important to focus on what you can control, and that has to be centered on integrity. That will serve you far longer than anything else and serve you, and your client, no matter any outside challenges.

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10

09 2010

Speaking of Jackie Robinson….

Recently, I talked about the 65-year anniversary of Branch Rickey and the Dodgers taking an exceptional risk with the signing of Jackie Robinson (see Branch Rickey Went Out On A Limb When He Signed Jackie Robinson). The discussion of the Robinson signing should push those in sports business to continue to reconsider the boundaries to the point that no matter what race you are, you should be afforded the opportunity to reach your maximum potential.

And while race was at the center of the Robinson signing, I believe that it’s just as important to bring up the lack of women in leadership positions in sports – both college and pro – worldwide.  As I read the story of Ariko Iso, the first female athletics trainer in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, I realize how much more we can accomplish in the world through the diversity in sports. While Ariko may not be recognized today as a Jackie Robinson-type legend, I feel over time, like so many other courageous minorities, she will leave a legacy.

When I was at University of Missouri I hired a female academic advisor for the football program against the concerns of the football staff. My mentor in college athletics was Jean Cerra who was the associate AD at the time. As it was then, I feel strongly that we need more female trainers, advisors, agents, general managers, owners, coaches, others in leadership positions, thus mirroring society. For centuries sports was for men only.  When we did let girls play basketball we wouldn’t let them cross half-court.  Oh my, we have come a long ways and congrats to Ariko Iso for her courage.

As we see more hiring of women in the training rooms in the NFL we can attribute it to “Iso Metrics! (npi)

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29

08 2010