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  1. Interview with a Sports Professional: John Stockstill, Baltimore Orioles’ Director of Player Personnel

    by Matthew Allinson 10-05-2012 08:01 PM Interview with a Sports Professional

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    The Baltimore Orioles (93-69) will be playing in its first postseason game in 15 years in the American League wild-card matchup against the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Amidst the Orioles’ magical run, we have the good fortune of sharing an interview with John Stockstill, who is the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Orioles. 
     
    In his current role with the Orioles, Stockstill oversees the day-to-day operation of the Minor League system and utilizes his scouting background to procure talent for the organization at the Major League level. In his seventh year with the team, Stockstill has also served as the club’s Director of Player Development and Director of International Scouting.
     
    Prior to joining the Orioles organization, Stockstill had spent his entire professional baseball career—as a Minor League player, scout, and front office executive—with the Chicago Cubs.
     
    Stockstill provided Access Athletes with a rare look into the inner workings of the MLB’s most resurgent franchise. In his candid responses, he openly discusses the challenges that professional baseball players face as they advance through the farm system and transition to the Majors. 
     
    Access Athletes: What kind of career assistance do you provide for your Minor League players while they’re still in the farm system?
     
    John Stockstill: Yeah, it’s difficult, the point you bring up. Different players are from different backgrounds, and then, different players have different financial situations. So baseball is kind of a rare sport because you have about, on average 40-45 new players [coming] into a system every year, of which a few make a lot of money, and most of them do not. In general, you’ll have people that have great off-season programs, which they set up themselves. They’ll pay strength and conditioning guys on their own. And then there are other guys who can’t afford to do that.
     
    So one thing baseball has evolved into for every club in the last several years is that most clubs have full-time trainers throughout their systems, and then strength and conditioning guys, nutritionists—all those kinds of things to help them while they’re with the club.
     
    In the off-season it’s a little different; you try to give them a plan. We have different coaches give them a plan, trainers, etc., but sometimes those will conflict with the outside sports training. It is very common in today’s game for a lot of players to have their own personal trainer, their own hitting coach, and their own specialty coaches throughout the off-season.
     
    AA: I don’t know if you’re familiar with the NFL’s off-field resources, but they have a multi-faceted player development/engagement program that includes player assistance services, continuing education, internships for career development, and education on the financial aspects, among other things. Does the MLB offer anything similar to that for its players?
     
    Stockstill: Well, nothing as advanced as that. Thirty years ago they would pay a bonus for your education, then it became “x” amount of dollars, and then it was maxed out at about $3,500 per semester. And then probably about 15 to 20 years ago, they started paying whatever educational costs for players. Most every club will provide some sort of educational opportunities for the players, especially those from Latin America and other countries. Teachers that help with language and things like that. But I would venture to say nothing as extensive as what you’re describing in the NFL.
     
    AA: So it’s more on an ad hoc basis at the club level?
     

     

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  2. Seven Simple Truths to Becoming a Better Leader

    by Cory Dobbs, Ed.D. 10-01-2012 10:44 PM Leadership

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    Effective leadership drives every aspect of a team’s performance. High performing teams have a wide range of players and coaches leading in different situations, at different times, and at different levels. The ultimate goal of leadership is to improve the team, the learning experience, and results for the participants. Leadership development is no longer merely “skill development” combined with experience. Today’s outstanding team leaders are those that are constantly growing and transforming—themselves and others.
     
    Here are seven simple truths that will guide you along your path to becoming a transformational team leader.
     
    Truth #1: Increase Deliberate Acts of Leadership
    The best way to create extraordinary results in the most important areas of your leadership is through daily practice. As a leader you are called to action. To become a better leader requires spending time identifying and doing deliberate acts of leadership. The Academy for Sport Leadership suggests success is found by deliberately acting to build the right relationships with your teammates, guiding others with influence, and initiating change. Change must be initiated daily, inspiring shared behavior, and focusing intentional behaviors—both yours and your teammates. The truth is, deliberate acts of leadership accumulate and over time make a significant difference. Small steps over time generate big results.
     
    Truth #2: Decrease Neglected Acts of Leadership
    Replacing the old way of doing things with the new does not happen at the touch of a button. At the end of the day take a quick quiz: How many leadership acts did I let go by? The habit of critical self-reflection requires a deep conviction to becoming a better leader. It’s not easy to admit to the things you didn’t do, that you could have, or should have done. Perseverance even when the pain seems unbearable will lead to enormous benefits. Acknowledge neglected acts of leadership. Learn from them. The truth is, like deliberate acts of leadership, the neglected acts of leadership accumulate and over time make a significant difference—in a negative direction.
     
    Truth #3: Identify Your Four-Minute Mile
    Years ago it was believed that no human being could ever break the four-minute mile. But after Roger Bannister broke through this barrier once thought to be impossible, many runners produced sub-4 minutes within weeks. Why? The truth is, that the “miracle mile” was a mental barrier rather than a physical barrier. What’s your four-minute mile? What mental barrier is preventing you from becoming a high-performing team leader? Create a deliberate plan to break through your four-minute mile. 
     
    Truth #4: The One-Minute Mile
    It only takes one minute to go the extra mile. Leadership is about relationships. It’s about building stronger bonds between you and your teammates. The stronger your relationships, the stronger the results. The truth is, the deeper your relationships with teammates, the stronger your leadership. 
     
    Truth #5: Detach From the Noise
    Your attention, please! Your attention—and that of your teammates—is a vital resource to the success of your team. Twitter, Facebook, I-Pod, the Internet… The truth is, more and more of your attention and that of your teammates is consumed by gizmos and gadgets. The onslaught of media messages simply clutter our minds and consume much of our energy. To become a dynamic team leader you need to manage your attention span and use your leadership power to hold your teammates' attention too. The truth is you’ll live a better life if you detach from the noise and give your attention to those things that will lead you to success.
     

     

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  3. Carole Beckford Q&A: Sports Ambassador for Jamaica and Publicist for Usain Bolt

    by Matthew Allinson 08-04-2012 01:38 AM Interview with a Sports Professional | Philanthropy | Public Relations

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    Carole Beckford is the CEO for Carole Beckford & Associates, a new company which specializes in image management, marketing, and media planning. She is an author, expert presenter on sport and sport tourism, and the founder of The Business of Sport, a concept and formula for building and enhancing the sports industry in Jamaica and the Caribbean. She has been a journalist for over 24 years working in the press and electronic media.
     
    Most notably, Beckford is the publicist for Usain Bolt, the defending three-time Olympic champion sprinter and world record holder from Jamaica. As the fastest man in the world gears up for the highly anticipated Men's 100m event this weekend in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics – where he will face stiff competition from his teammate and training partner, Yohan Blake – we caught up with Beckford to learn more about what it's like to work with one of the most sought-after athletes in the world.
     
    Q: What does the day in the life of Carole Beckford look like, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed?
     
    Beckford:
    1. Morning meditation to get me through the day
    2. Preparation to leave for work and drop my son at school
    3. Before that though I am up reading the papers from around the world and responding to requests from journalists in Europe
    4. Once I get to work, the phone goes on for at least two to three hours, then meetings
    5. By 4:30 though I am back on the email to talk to Australia and to say good night to Europe. I really do talk to the world most days.

    Q: With Usain Bolt being one of the most sought after athletes in the world, how have you assisted him with his off-the-track endeavors to put him in the best position to be successful in London? 

    Beckford: We have lots of conversations. Usain learns fast (pun intended) so he is a quick study. It is also important for him to give input. It has been hectic, but the evidence of his reach is clear. The hardest part is when I have to say no to a request. Otherwise we are good.
     
    Q: As we’ve watched Usain’s development in front of the camera since the 2008 Olympics, what would you attribute to his adeptness in the interview setting? Media training, experience, or is he just a natural?
     
    Beckford: Usain has learned and continues to learn his business. He puts himself into his work, so he catches on really fast. We do role playing sometimes, but we are always relaxed together, so it helps.
     

     

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  4. An Olympian's Perspective: Team USA Cyclist Lauren Tamayo's Ride to the London 2012 Olympics

    by Wesley Mallette 08-02-2012 09:48 PM Athlete Interviews

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    LONDON  Lauren Tamayo is focused. Don't let her smile and pleasant demeanor off the bike fool you. An accomplished and highly decorated professional road cyclist racing for Exergy Twenty12, this ferociously competitive 28 year-old is ready to make her 2012 Olympics debut in London in the women's 3-kilometer team pursuit alongside teammates Sarah Hammer (world champion), Jennie Reed and Dotsie Bausch. Along with Hammer and Bausch, Tamayo was part of the women's team that set the world record in 2010 at the Pan Am Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, with a time of 3:19.569. 
     
    Tamayo hails from a family that’s been in and around professional cycling for years. Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she now resides in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, Mike Tamayo, who is also the General Manager/Team Director for the UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team. Lauren grew up just outside of Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, a rural town that’s known as the “go to” place for track racing on the eastern seaboard, where her father encouraged (his then) 11 year-old daughter to explore track cycling. It was not love at first sight, but after a few sessions it seemed like a natural fit. In 1999, Lauren won the junior national title and her career took off. She also began road cycling, and the versatile rider has since earned accolades on both the road and the track. Lauren's younger brother Chris Franges, is a also a member of this "family that races together, stays together," and works with Team UnitedHealthcare as a mechanic.
     
    Family, training and focus have helped Tamayo reach Olympian and world-class levels. Now, after two months of intense training with her teammates in Majorca, Spain, prior to the London Summer Games, Lauren has settled into her daily routine in the Olympic Village. And as the team prepares to take center stage in the Olympic Velodrome this weekend, "La Diabla" (a nickname she earned from her ferocity on the track and its juxtaposition to her low-key, laid back attitude off the bike) spent time reflecting on her journey to the Olympics, the Olympic experience, and her team's preparation leading into the Women's Team Pursuit event. 
     
    Here's what she had to say: 
     
    Wesley Mallette: Few people will ever experience the dream you are living right now. To put it in perspective, there are 314 million Americans and 537 U.S. Olympic athletes. And out of seven billion people in the world, 10,960 athletes are competing in the Olympics. What has your Olympic experience been like thus far?
     
    Lauren Tamayo: Arriving at the Olympic Village and at the USA House where all the U.S. athletes are staying was kind of surreal. When we first got here, we weren't really able to absorb everything that was going on. We arrived the day of the opening ceremonies and most of the athletes who were competing were settled into their daily routine. It took a couple of days for the enormity of the experience to sink in and realize what was going on and how big this is. Now it's become somewhat normal and we are ready to go. We haven't lost our focus. 
     

     

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  5. Welcome to the New Training Camp: Preparing players for the game of life off the field

    by Dr. Timothy Thompson 07-16-2012 10:11 PM Life After Sports | Human Relations

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    Thankfully, nowadays it’s easy to find articles in sports information publications that focus genuine attention on sticky questions about how to create a soft landing pad for pro athletes whose high-flying playing days have ended. But that conversation topic hasn’t always been so popular, though.

    In fact, as easy as it has now become to join in on public dialogues about pro athletes’ career transitioning traumas, it’s just as easy to conclude that before May 2, 2012, far too few sports writers and pro teams demonstrated any authentic caring about what causes athletes’ retirement woes. 
     
    May 2 is when we found out about NFL great Junior Seau’s shocking suicide. Since that sad day, perhaps the best news relating to Seau’s death is that all of the top sports publications and most of the major pro sports leagues have been trying hard to figure out why pro athletes struggle so badly with life outside of playing their beloved sports.
     
    For example, in ESPN NASCAR analyst Marty Smith’s May 11, 2012 ESPN.com article entitled “How do you cope when it’s over?” renowned sports author John Feinstein was quoted as summarizing the problem faced by transitioning out of playing in the following way: “Athletes die twice.” Feinstein was referring to the shock that athletes experience once they have to leave the cocoon-like social world that they’ve been nestled in for most of their lives, and their corresponding struggles to adjust to the same life challenges faced by the rest of us.
     
    Feinstein’s analysis definitely shows great insight into some of the core causal elements that are ultimately responsible for so many former pro athletes going broke shortly after they’ve stopped playing. And Jack Bechta, National Football Post contributor and sports agent, has taken this insight to the next level, particularly in his May 9, 2012 post entitled “NFL is in need of a better exit plan for its players.”
     
    In that solution-oriented piece, Bechta listed four specific action steps that he believes would help the NFL to smooth out its players’ transitions from celebrity to Average Joe status. I’ve summarized his well-justified ideas for you here:
    1. The league should make year-round life skills classes and programs mandatory for the first three years of a player’s career.
    2. The NFL should form a committee of retired players and professionals (who don’t have an axe to grind), who can help develop a transitional program out of the league and in to a stable life.
    3. Team owners should give retired players (who maybe played for 5 years or more) greater access to club facilities and get them involved in team activities, similar to what colleges do.
    4. Each team should allocate perhaps $500,000 per year towards building life skills platforms, hiring more support staff, and creating more self-actualization information resources for current players. 
    As you can plainly see, this conversation topic is extremely vital for the future of sports in the U.S., and we’re surely off to a good start. But those of us who’ve dedicated ourselves to helping high-profile athletes reach self-actualized status in all aspects of their lives are painfully aware that we still have many miles to go before we’ve accomplished that lofty goal.
     
    In that light, we at Access Athletes are pleased to offer you a three-part series of columns – of which this piece, which will steer us all to a sure way to actually solve the problem, is the first installment.
     
    Expanding high profile athletes’ identity formation
     
    After having completed extensive research at Marquette University for his doctoral dissertation focusing on the mental and physical effects of playing pro football, one of former NFL linebacker George Koonce, Jr.’s main conclusions matches John Feinstein’s.  Like Feinstein, Koonce insists that leaving a professional athletic career behind is metaphorically like dying. In fact, Koonce, whose doctoral research was actually focused specifically on the NFL, refers to life after a player’s retirement as the “afterlife.”
     

     

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  6. Michael "MJ" Johnson Q&A: His Journey to the NFL, Philanthropy, and Development as an NFL Player

    by Michelle Hill 06-09-2012 09:01 PM Athlete Interviews | Philanthropy | Athlete Career Development

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    My recent conversation with fourth-year NFL veteran Michael “MJ” Johnson left me impressed with this young athlete’s self-driven acumen that has helped him on his way to greatness on and off the field. The Cincinnati Bengals defensive end candidly expressed his desire to share his resources and his wisdom to youth across the country and in his own hometown. He credits his mother and father as the cornerstones of his youth development, and into adulthood. The lessons they taught him have helped shape who he is and what he has and will accomplish in life.
     
    Michael recalls his journey from youth sports to the NFL and credits his diligence and a strong work ethic for enabling him to overcome the challenges he has encountered along the way. The lessons he learned along the way have given birth to an explosive message that infuses youths with motivation to focus on their education first.
     
    Michael’s strong presence on and off the field will surely make an impact on anyone who is fortunate enough to cross his path.
     
    Journey to the NFL
     
    Michelle: How and where did you grow up, and how much was football a part of your upbringing?
     
    Michael: I’m from Selma, Alabama. It’s a small town in south central Alabama… about an hour away from Montgomery and an hour and a half from Meridian, Mississippi in the ‘black belt’. Football is very big in Alabama, as it is across the south. I started playing when I was 10 and fell in love with it from the first game. I broke my arm the first game, but it’s just in me.
     
    Michelle: Who would you say is the most influential person that helped shape you as a man and why?
     
    Michael: My dad, just because of the way he always conducts himself and takes care of business. He’s the type who would play and just have a good time. He’s always very friendly and outgoing (he’s way more outgoing than even me). But when it was time to go to work, he went to work. It was always work first and play second. He was able to balance that and he taught me [that] being a man consists of taking care of yourself, taking care of your family and the people around you by elevating others. He’d give you the shirt off his back.
     
    Michelle: What a great influence. So you got your work ethic primarily from him?
     
    Michael: Yes Ma’am. And my mom as well. She played the mother role. She did the nurturing and caring. She was the same way, always working hard at whatever it was she was doing. She was very service minded, service oriented. She had a little herb shop where she made dolls and sold herbs. Just watching her work, putting in those hours, the detail she put into making those dolls, and the customer service she provided people after hours as well. It was all that little extra stuff that taught me a lot.
     
    Michelle: That’s beautiful. I’m sure you have an idea of what a lucky man you are.
     
    Michael: Very. Very.
     
    Michelle: I really like to hear that. Can you tell me three things you’ve practiced to bring football success into your life?
     
    Michael: Number one, whatever I do I always try to be very detail-oriented in my work ethic and my approach to things. If the coach said, do this or do that, I always tried my best to do everything I was asked to do, whether it was in the weight room, in the classroom, or on the field. I’ve always been a team first kind of guy and put the good of the team first. That’s one thing.
     
    Another thing is that I always tried to be the first one in and the last one out in whatever I was doing. I would try to get there early to get a head start, and if I had to stay there until nobody else was there, I’d do that too. I’d just do little stuff; whether it was making corrections, watching tapes, working out, or whatever.
     
    The last thing is that I always try to take care of my body, eat right, put the right things in. That’s been a learning experience over the years and I’ve got a lot better with it. I always try to educate myself on health and nutrition to get the most out of my body.
     
    Michelle: What tribulations and challenges have you been through that have made you into the person you are today?
     
    Michael: Well, the first one is when I was in the 5th grade, and I was cut from the basketball team and they put me back on just to be on the practice team. That really drove me.
     
    Michelle: You were thinking, “I’m not staying on that practice team.”
     
    Michael: Yeah. It really drove me and by the time I got to 10th grade, I was better than all those guys in basketball. And I was being recruited for basketball, even before football because I was tall. I remember it like it was yesterday. So what do I need to do? I need to go to work. And that’s a message I’ve taken with me. Even to this day, it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. That’s the mentality I’ve taken day-in and day-out. I’m just going to keep my head down and keep working.
     
    I’ve had to fight through injuries and battle back from some pretty tough surgeries in college. And it was tough not knowing if you’re going to come back the same for your teammates; they’re your brothers. I’ve only missed two games in my whole time playing football. But I’ve been very blessed to have that.
     
    Philanthropy
     
    Michelle: Tell me about some of your off-field efforts, such as the MJ93 Fund, Gen-1, “Binit2Winit”, and “A Fresh Start from MJ’s Heart.”
     
    Michael: MJ93 Fund is the foundation my mom suggested I start because I was doing so much stuff on my own. And how I am, if I can do it, I’m going to do it.
     
    “Binit2Winit” is a program with Sunny-D up here in Cincinnati that encourages people to recycle and stresses the importance of recycling. There’s been a big push in this area about ‘going green’.
     
    The Gen-1 program is with the University of Cincinnati with first generation college students. Both my parents were first generation college students and they grew up in the rural south—rural Alabama—and they made it. That’s a big, big accomplishment to be the first person in your family to go to college. So I’m a big supporter of that program here at UC, University of Cincinnati.
     
    “A Fresh Start from MJ’s Heart” was something I did in my home town. It was getting shirts for elementary school kids, so when they go on field trips they look uniform and [it] helps teachers and parents to keep up with the kids. The shirts have their school name on it, my logo, and it shows support for the Bengal’s team.

     

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  7. While Working Hard on How You Play, Don’t Forget Why

    by Dr. Timothy Thompson 06-01-2012 09:13 PM Athlete Advice | Athlete Career Development | Human Relations

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    This year’s Masters golf tournament winner, Bubba Watson, hasn’t had golf lessons since he was 10 years old, according to an April 9, 2012 ESPN Golf online news article entitled “Bubba Watson wins Masters.” Yet the originator of “Bubba golf” still manages to be regarded by his pro circuit peers as one of the game’s most creative shot-making wizards. And now he has the hardware, prize money, and green jacket to show for it by winning golf’s most prestigious tournament, powered by a jaw dropping shot from the woods that miraculously held off a late playoff charge by a surging Louis Oosthuizen.
     
    Meanwhile, on the opposite pole of the sports spectrum (opposite because golf is best in warm weather while skiing is best in the cold), 2010 Olympic women’s skiing champion Lindsey Vonn posted the most dominant overall performance of her storied career despite facing major turbulence in her personal life at the same time. This according to an April 8, 2012 New York Times article entitled “For Lindsey Vonn, Professional Triumph and Personal Turmoil.”
     
    Although their life circumstances and their sports differ dramatically from each other, both of these champions have pulled off mind-blowing victories on the largest stages against top competition because of a single quality that’s necessary for success in any area of life. That vital core quality is what I call “passionate inner drive,” which is really nothing more than self-generated love for doing a particular thing.
     
    While neither champ used the passionate inner drive phrase in their explanations of what propelled them, what they did say attributed their success to it nonetheless. Vonn, for example, told reporters, “I realized for the first time in my life I was skiing for myself. I had always had a lot of people helping me — my dad when I was younger, then Thomas (her estranged husband, manager and coach), and my sponsors. And sometimes, I think I skied for those other people.
     
    “This year, I realized that I’m the only one in the start gate and I’m the only one deciding what line to ski and how fast. That was really empowering. It was kind of like being a kid again, skiing for yourself and having fun with it.”
     
    Meanwhile, for Watson, this self-driven way of approaching his golfing is nothing new. In fact, the only news for him is that it has finally propelled him to victory in the world’s greatest golf tournament. 

     

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  8. Buyer Beware: The Crisis Facing America’s Athletes

    by Guest Author 04-22-2012 09:03 PM Life After Sports | Athlete Career Development

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    Guest Article by Russ Hafferkamp, Managing Director of Career Athletes, LLC

    Today, athletes, parents, administrators and agents, are realizing that a singularly focused, over-commitment to competitive athletics has produced an unintended consequence of crisis proportions.
     
    Throughout America, over 400,000 men and women athletes compete in intercollegiate sports programs and another record-high 7.5 million athletes compete at the high school level. And just like professional and elite athletes, amateur athletes now spend more time than ever perfecting their skills and dealing with increased time demands from coaches for training, conditioning, film, travel, games and team activities.
     
    The good news is that in Division 1 sports at NCAA colleges, student-athletes are graduating at the highest rates ever, according to the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rates (GSR). The most recent GSR data shows that 79% of freshmen student-athletes who entered college in 2004 earned their four-year degrees. Even when calculating graduation rates using the federal government’s methodology, Division 1 athletes now graduate at rates higher than the general student body.
     
    The NCAA leadership has praised the latest GSR figures, citing many factors including an overall emphasis on academics. But there are many more factors than just sports and academics to a complete college experience.
     
    Maximizing performance (winning) has now begun to take time from academic course options in college, compromised social and extracurricular opportunities, and generally has limited the non-sports related life experiences of young athletes. When the day finally comes to hang up their Speedo, cleats or pads, many athletes (and parents) are beginning to notice they are ill-prepared for the balanced perspective now required of ‘real world’ career opportunities.
     
    Hiring managers and HR professionals across America readily identify the athlete DNA as a very valuable commodity in the workforce. Confidence, discipline, loyalty, resilience, persistence...sports has always been a terrific and proven learning ground for life skills.
     
    However, it is important to realize that we are now living in times when most of the rules of the employment market have changed. In the old days, career planning and development for athletes was rewarded mostly by networking and showing up for the interview. Today, competing successfully in the workplace requires more preparation and effort. Also, you better come to the interview with some previous experience (part-time jobs, internships, even volunteerism). Unfortunately, today’s athletes possess very little work experience as a result of increasing time constraints.

     

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  9. The Battle for Linsanity – Lessons Learned from a Young Star’s Rise and … Injury

    by Kanika Corley 04-21-2012 04:41 PM Image Branding | Legal

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    In today’s fast-paced, global media environment athletes must be prepared for a sudden bolt into stardom. Jeremy Lin rose from a D-League vagabond to the face of the NBA overnight. After a dominating performance on February 4, 2012, as the new point guard for the New York Knicks, Lin led the team to seven straight wins and became a virtual obsession for the media. Lin’s popularity has been helped by his unique brand: a combination of Ivy League pedigree, Taiwanese heritage and a superior ability to break down defenses and get to the basket, which has captured the hearts of basketball fans all over the world.  

    Before learning of a torn meniscus, the phenomenon surrounding his popularity was coined “Linsanity” and in the early part of 2012, “Linsanity” ruled the airwaves. During that time, “Linsanity” created an explosion of merchandise and goods that helped Lin establish his brand.[1] Surprisingly, however, most if not all of the profits made by the use of "Linsanity" do not involve or benefit Jeremy Lin. Others quickly capitalized on the popularity of “Linsanity” to market their own goods bearing the moniker. 
     
    Many ask us if this is legal—someone else profiting from another’s popularity and good name? 
     
    Unfortunately for Jeremy Lin, the use of his name and reliance on his reputation by others might be legally permissible simply because of Lin’s own professional missteps. In short, Lin wasn’t prepared for stardom and may not have acted quickly enough to capture and preserve his rights. As a result, various competing claims over “Linsanity” has propelled it into the legal world. While the media frenzy over “Linsanity” has cooled off a bit, the legal dispute over who gets to use “Linsanity” will have a far-reaching impact on Jeremy Lin’s future as well as the futures of his commercial competitors.
     
    Linsanity in the Trademark Office
     
    As of the time of this article, there have been ten (10) trademark applications attempting to claim ownership of the term “Linsanity” for use on goods and products ranging from clothing to eyewear. Two (2) of the trademark applications were filed prior to Jeremy Lin’s application. The first, filed February 7, 2012, by Yenchin (Matthew) Chang seeks registration of “Linsanity” for the sale of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. The second, filed on February 9, 2012, by Andrew Slayton seeks to register the use of sports apparel. Jeremy Lin joined the party and filed his registration application for “Linsanity” on February 13, 2012, covering a wide range of sports products and clothing.
     
    Jeremy Lin’s entry into the “Linsanity” bonanza did not seem to deflate the hopes of others since seven (7) other applications were filed after his filing. And with good reason. In most cases, the law encourages competition and innovation by rewarding those who arrive first and those who diversify the marketplace. As a result, Lin now faces a battle to obtain and protect the “Linsanity” trademark and maintain control over his emerging brand; a battle that could have been avoided. 
     

     

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  10. NCAA Student-Athlete Attendance at Professional Sports Draft Events

    by Justin Sievert 04-21-2012 03:20 PM Amateurism

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    With the NFL draft fast approaching, future professional football players are beginning to organize parties and/or other events to commemorate their accomplishment. Oftentimes, former teammates of future professional football players—those with remaining collegiate eligibilityare invited to attend an event. While there is no NCAA legislation preventing a current student-athlete from attending an event held by a former teammate, it is important for current student-athletes to understand that rules-violations may occur if they do not pay for the benefits or services they may receive.

    The most common scenario resulting in NCAA rules-violations is when a current student-athlete attends an event at the invitation of a former teammate without knowledge that the event is being financed by a sports agent, marketer or financial advisor. For example, travel expenses, lodging, meals, entertainment and other expenses provided to a current student-athlete at no charge and financed by an individual such as a sports agent, marketer or financial advisor would result in a violation of NCAA Bylaw 12.3.1.2 and could jeopardize a current student-athlete’s eligibility.

    This Bylaw states a student-athlete shall be ineligible if he or she (or his or her relatives or friends) "accepts transportation or other benefits from (a) any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. The receipt of such expenses constitutes compensation based on athletics skill and is an extra benefit not available to the student body in general; or (b) an agent, even if the agent has indicated that he or she has no interest in representing the student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation and does not represent individuals in the student-athlete's sport.”

     

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