Athlete Prep And Combine Company Creates A Football Sports Agency
Athletes hire sports agents to represent them in negotiations with professional sports teams as well as with brands that may be looking for particular product or service endorsements. Athletes also commonly prep for their professional futures by engaging in combines, youth camps and training facilities before they are signed to professional sports organizations. Sports agencies and prep programs have traditionally been mutually exclusive from each other; the one caveat is that some agencies will pay the training bill for their clients as they get ready for their respective Pro Days and/or the NFL Scouting Combine. However, the game has changed. Now there is a prep and training company that is trying its hand at also representing athletes in their contractual negotiations .
Dave Schuman and Dan Smith, both National Football League Players Association certified Contract Advisors, have created an athlete representation agency called Inspired Athletes. It makes its official debut with the 2015 NFL Draft — Schuman and Smith are representing a total of 14 athletes eligible to be selected by NFL teams. Clients of the new company who hope to be signed to NFL rosters include Notre Dame outside linebacker Kendall Moore, Marshall outside linebacker Neville Hewitt and University of Rhode Island inside linebacker Andrew Bose. None of the 14 players under contract with Schuman and Smith are top NFL prospects, but that has not deterred the duo from taking their experience in the athlete preparation industry to the world of athlete representation.
Schuman has served as the CEO of National Underclassmen Combine(NUC) for over a decade, where he has serviced roughly 20,000 athletes each year in an effort to empower them with the opportunity to be exposed to scouts. The NUC website says that Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota played in the first NUC All-Star game. It also mentions that Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron and Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden are all notable NUC alums.
Schuman said that he saw too many athletes and families that he helped get to college and receive poor advice when they were ready to take the next step at the NFL level. He believes that his new athlete representation company will provide another opportunity for the college athletes he helps to live out their dreams of playing and succeeding in the NFL.
“Athletes will see a noticeable difference with Inspired Athletes representing them,” stated Smith. “Our mantra is ‘Family Helps Family’, and that’s what we are looking to create. A full service set of solutions from draft day to retirement, with the trust and full disclosure that one would expect from people who have only their best interests in mind.”
Schuman says that to the best of his knowledge NUC will be the first athlete preparation/combine company to enter into athlete representation. His response to any criticism that it may be a conflict to prepare players and also represent them as professionals is that there simply is no conflict.
“In fact, our relationship with those prep players, when they are ready for the pro level, have already entrusted us with helping them get to college, so it is a natural extension to help them again,” added Schuman. “It gives them someone they trust that they can work with instead many of the sharks they deal with at the NFL agent level.”
Both Schuman and Smith hit the recruiting trail to secure contracts with the 14 players they currently represent. Schuman says the secret to signing so many players was to cast a wide net, ask for referrals and leverage existing relationships. He mentioned that NFLPA certified Contract Advisors have responded positively to his concept. However, once the word gets out that a prep and combine company is now in the business of representing athletes, it will not be long until the critics come out to disparage Schuman’s solution to what he views as a poorly operating industry.
“Who wouldn’t want to get evaluated by someone who can help them get to college, understand their athletic skill set, coach them and then know there is a resource out there that can help them again if they are good enough to make the NFL?” asked Schuman rhetorically. The answer: his competition.