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Everyone is talking about "unscrupulous agents." It's the hot, new job in major college football. In this poor economy, we'll take any job growth category we can get.
But how can you become an unscrupulous agent?
Follow these eight steps.
1. Take an ethics class -- You can't know how to have no ethics without knowing what constitutes having ethics. Learn the Golden Rule, the basis of ethics: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's an adorable saying. It really is. But it's a bit wordy for modern times. You'll want to shorten that.
The new Golden Rule: "Do unto others."
There. Perfect. That will fit nicely in a tweet and on a business card.
2. Know this one guy -- To be a good unscrupulous agent, you'll need to pull a lot of strings and do favors for your clients. Doing that always starts with the phrase: "I know this one guy who "
But do you know this one guy? I don't. I mean, I know lots of guys, but none who can get luxury cars on the cheap or have spare mansions lying around.
So go find this one guy and arrange a business relationship. My guess is you'll find him somewhere between a major college football stadium and the nearest prison. Or you could just join the boosters club.
3. Get in shape -- It may seem like easy money, but being an unscrupulous agent takes a lot of hard work and late hours. To perform at your best, you'll need to be in good physical condition.
Join a gym. You can work on your body there and also hang around young athletes who could be future clients. You'll know your gym membership has paid off when you can tear an NCAA rulebook in half with your bare hands and/or have become the spotter for an NFL draft prospect. "Maybe you should sign with me so I don't let this 350-pound bar fall on your neck? What do you think? You have three seconds to decide."
4. Learn business principles -- To sell your services to a potential star, you'll need to convince him that you are a business wiz who will make him more money down the road than he could ever imagine, and far more than he could ever earn without you.
Put together a multimedia presentation, showing him a list of recommendations from other clients and providing a detailed, cost-benefit analysis.
Or you could just give him, like, a nice watch, a PS3 and a gift card to GameStop. Yeah, that's probably the way to go.
5. Learn basic math -- So a nice watch, a PS3 and a gift card to Game Stop what did that cost you? A few thousand bucks? Now, what's 10 percent of the signing bonus for even a second-round pick in the NFL draft? Holy crap. This is awesome.
6. Kill your soul -- This is a tough one. Because souls naturally stay with a human while it's alive. It's one thing to just have a black soul, but that's not enough to become an unscrupulous agent. No, you'll need your soul to be completely dead.
Think about it. You are taking advantage of teenagers. You are destroying the hard work of men and women at universities across the country. You are spending a lot of time at the mall shopping at incredibly overpriced stores. You are routinely traveling to places like Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Gainesville, Fla. Yes, your soul must be killed or you'll never be able to pull it off.
But how does one kill his own soul? How does one give up the will to live? I'd say consider following the Twitter account of the athletes you want to work with. Your soul, and your brain, will be dead soon enough.
7. Get a new wardrobe -- You are almost there. Now you need to look the part.
To impress your potential clients, you have to ooze wealth. They need to think riches follow you. Don't let there be any question that you have a high credit limit on your credit card. (You'll want to hide your Discover card behind a fake American Express Black card you made at Kinko's.) You are not going for subtlety and class here. The gaudiest suit, the most extravagant car -- that's your goal. Imagine what The Situation would wear to a wedding, then take it up a few notches.
8. Work on your self-esteem -- When you become an unscrupulous agent, many people will be out to get you. The NCAA, head coaches, maybe even prosecutors. You will be vilified in the media. Some especially indignant coaches will liken you to a pimp. Just the title itself -- unscrupulous agent -- can be tough to stomach. That job title is definitely a few notches below "superhero."
But you must keep your head up. Literally. Many of your players will be speeding around in sports cars and could accidentally run into you while texting on the new iPhone 4 you bought them. But figuratively keep your head up, too. It's hard being ripped to shreds for 10, 15 or 20 percent of future earnings. Especially when your very existence was enabled by the same people who are criticizing you now: unscrupulous coaches, unscrupulous athletic directors, unscrupul-et cetera.
So remember, while what you do may be loathsome, there is plenty of blame to go around. You deserve no more than 20 percent. With interest.
DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com. His first book, "The View from the Upper Deck," is available from only the finest bargain book retailers. His next book project will be released soon. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.
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