2021 Case Study:
Since there was no agent class in 2020, we're revisiting interviews we did with members of the '19 draft class with updates on the players they represent in the '21 draft class.
Neil’s brief primer: A competitive dancer and cheerleader in her high school years, she chose to focus on sports management at Lynn University in Florida; she chose the school due to its vibrant program and the ability to volunteer in the industry while in school. She built a solid resume working with college bowls (Capital One, Peach), but spending time with players showed they saw agents as transaction-oriented and not relational. She parlayed his experience into opening her own marketing company (Sam Tiger Mgmt), which allowed her to build a solid network of agents, players and other contacts in the game while also pursuing her MBA at Lynn (“It was a lot, but I knew what I had to do"). She took and passed the exam in the summer of ’19.
Active NFL clients: Virginia FS D’Angelo Amos signed with the Lions post-draft as a UDFA.
Why did she become an agent?: “I wanted to make things less transactional for the players that value relationships. I believe this is a relationship-built business, so it threw me off when I heard the players speak so transactionally about their agencies. . . You have to make (relationships) a long-term thing. I felt, let me make a dent in some of this that I saw as an issue.”
Day job: Owner of Sam Tiger Management, which provided marketing and concierge-level services to active and former players.
Her take on the NFLPA exam: “I prepared, so it wasn’t overwhelming, but I think when you open that test and the time is counting down, it does get a little nerve-wracking, so you have to stay really focused. It was a lot of eyes looking around when the test started. That’s what was funny to me. Everybody was looking around.”
Hardest part of being an agent: “I think it’s managing expectations, both with yourself and also clients. Managing expectations and also things I can’t control. I can’t control my age, or things that the parents or players see as something negative . . . having that thrown at you can be difficult. It can get easy to get frustrated and upset. Even though I might get 10 ‘no’s’, I will get one ‘yes,’ and it is what it is. You have to go through the process and do your due diligence.”
She felt like he’d had a successful year as a contract advisor when . . .: “. . . around draft time . . . I got calls from teams. That was something that was cool. . . Your first year, especially if you’re independent, you’re already behind. Others are recruiting way before you get the green light, so getting team calls is exciting, and then obviously when your client signs their contract, it’s a good feeling.”
Lesson she learned that she wished she’d known before he got certified: “Really do your research on players and don’t just refer to one source. If you’re gonna pay for (ITL scouting reports), also do your research in other ways. If you have a scout, speak to them, but have somebody else put some eyes on it.”