Welcome back, everyone, for the third installment of the Athlete Weekly Rundown. This week focuses on agencies, off-the-field decision-making and consequences, the college recruiting process, the LPGA, and the addition of many more NCAA student-athlete blogs. The secondary focus is once again preparation, as we can't stress it enough to help you succeed in your athletic goals.

This article comes from the New York Times and it focuses on NFL super-agent Ben Dogra from the football representation branch of Creative Artists Agency. Although the article is primarily superficial and doesn't really dive down into deeper looks into his career, it does talk a little about how they (CAA) looks at their clients. It talks about how each first round contract affects all the other first round contracts via the ripple effect (naturally). Because CAA has multiple clients in the first round each year, they look at first round contracts differently than the teams. Each team only has one first rounder and because there is a large gap between the top players and the next level, the teams look at the first round contract as a one shot deal. They are more willing to shell out large money as a result, making it Dogra's job to get the teams to their ceiling. CAA needs their early pick first rounders to get large money so that their lower pick first rounders will get large money as well.
The article also briefly (and I mean briefly) talks about Dogra's life and how he became an agent. It's encouraging for all of you aspiring agents out there to note that Dogra was not a player and was not even born in this country, yet still rose to the top of the representation industry.
Another point of interest in the article that I want to draw attention to is the belief that Dogra has about the league's salary cap flexibility. I bring this up because there has been a hot debate over soaring rookie contracts and their effect on veteran player contracts. Dogra believes that there is room in the league's cap and that teams are not giving the money to the veterans because they don't want to and not because the all the money is being spent on the rookies.
As I said, it's a little shallow in the info it gives out, but it does give a look into how a super-agency perceives the NFL draft as well as some brief insight into how the NFL works.
More somber than the other articles, but it's an important reminder about the drawbacks that can result from being in the spotlight. As an athlete, you are on the top of everyone's jealously list. You're playing a game that you love for large amounts of money, as well as being on TV and in eyes of millions of fans. I'm not saying Collier was wrong in being where he was and at that time, I'm just saying to be careful of the situations you put yourself in. The article mentions that Collier was the third NFL player shot in the last 18 months with the other two incidents resulting in fatalities. I want to stress, and I can't stress this enough, beware of the company you keep. There are countless stories of athletes who have been destroyed by the people around them. Entourages deplete bank accounts, friends commit crimes reflecting badly on the athlete, and some girls take money and careers. Don't be a shut-in who only goes to practice, games, and home. Enjoy your life...you're an athlete, but stay away from traditionally hazardous places. Remember, these other people have nothing to lose, while you have everything.
This article just emphasizes the expression that “the best decisions in life are always the hardest”. As a high school athlete in the recruiting process, you’re exposed to many different options and choices that sometimes you feel pulled in dozens of directions. You’re getting text messages, letters, phone calls, coaches talking to you after games, and countless people asking you if you’ve made a decision. This can stress out a high school athlete to the point of a breakdown. And because of all of these choices, it is very easy to second guess your decisions about the school you ultimately choose. In the end, you need to sit down with YOURSELF, not your parents, not your significant other, and not your friends. You need to do what’s best for you.
Get all of the necessary information about the schools you’re being recruited by to make the best decision. Find out what else the school offers besides athletics; a good academic record (as I’ve been stressing the importance of back-up plans), solid social experiences, and an atmosphere you can excel in. When you go on your recruiting trips, every team is going to show you only the positives of what the school has to offer. So ask the coaches questions that are important to you that will help give you a better idea of what the school has to offer. This decision is not just about the next four years of your life, but the rest of your life. If you make an informed decision based on all the information you can get, then have confidence and enjoy college because it really is the best four years of your life.
The LPGA finally came to its senses and rescinded the proposal they made that requires all Tour players to speak English in order to retain their tour cards. Personally, I think this proposal made by the LPGA was dumb from the instant I heard what they were proposing to do. They came from the stance that their sport is on heading for failure and to spur sponsors and advertisement revenues, they need to market their stars.
However, a majority of these stars are South Koreans who have either a limited or no grasp of the English language. So the LPGA decided it was going to force all Tour players to speak proper English, which in and of itself is impossible to define. Many athletes throughout all of the major sports leagues don’t speak proper English and they pull in millions in endorsements and sponsors, so why force these women? It’s just unnecessary; during a round you can’t hear what the golfers are saying anyways. Commercials? Teach them the words they need to know for the commercial. Post-round interviews? What’s wrong with an interpreter? Are their words less meaningful coming from someone else translating them verbatim? Does the LPGA think we fans are that pompous that we can’t listen to a translator? If a majority of players are foreign, then lets look at foreign investment (some countries’ money is better than ours right now). Not to mention it is a global sport played in different parts of the world.
In the end there, is no solid reason for the LPGA to require their players to speak proper English and I’m glad the LPGA (although basically forced by public outcry) changed their decision.
The NCAA has expanded on the number of student-athletes they have blogging and have moved into sports other than just football. So for all of you non-football players, check in on the athletes they have blogging about your sport.

As always, please post any comments or questions you have about the column. If you have any questions you want to ask me, you can email me at tim@accessathletes.com. I hope you enjoyed the opening weekend of the NFL!