On this page, I'll share my thoughts, and any articles or information I think are of interest. Feel free to use the comments section to join in the discussion!
October 14, 2014
GURLEY SHOULD SHUN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
I attend a ton of sporting events, both as a professional and (far more often) as a fan, but nothing I've seen in person over the last few years is as consistently electrifying as watching Todd Gurley play football for the University of Georgia.
Gurley looks like an evolutionary leap over everyone else on the field, faster, stronger, quicker and smarter, able both to accelerate and slow time at his whims. Football is an extremely complicated game, with thousands of people constantly tinkering at the edges for any possible competitive advantage, but Gurley makes it astoundingly simple.
Watching him play turns the game into backlot football again: Give it to the big, fast kid and watch him go. He's hypnotic: He plays like the game was specifically invented for him, which is why it was such a bummer when it was announced a few days ago that he was suspended indefinitely for allegedly receiving money for use of his likeness or autograph.
In other words, college football fans might never get to see Gurley play for Georgia ever again. I'm lucky, I've had a terrific view of Gurley here in Athens at Sanford Stadium for two seasons now. I have two nice season tickets in the East end zone; here's my view.
Good seats, right? I'm happy with them.
To buy season tickets to a revenue sport at a public institution like the University of Georgia, you must pay a Personal Seat License. They don't call it a Personal Seat License, of course; they call it a "donation to the athletic fund." Being Midwestern, there's nothing I dislike more than getting into details of money, but these minimum donations, they're not cheap. I find it worth it: To me, it's money well spent. But they're pricey, no question. It's a larger percentage of my yearly income than I necessarily feel comfortable making.
How pricey? A key aspect -- the key aspect -- of Georgia's investigation is just how much Gurley may or may not have sold his autograph for. That will determine how many games he is suspended for. Here arethe exact details:
Under NCAA rules, Gurley would face a potential one-game suspension (10 percent of the team's competition) if he accepted improper benefits ranging from $100 to $400. The penalty would increase to two games (20 percent) for amounts from $400 to $700, and to four games (30 percent) for amounts greater than $700.
If I would have just given my yearly pittance -- the donation, along with the price of the tickets -- to Todd Gurley rather than the University of Georgia in exchange for his autograph … it would cost him four games. Just from my personal two tickets.
And Stanford Stadium holds 92,746 people every home Saturday. And every SEC school got a $20.9 million check from the conference last season, and that was before the SEC Network launched.
Here in Athens, signs have started popping up around town. Inspired by the #freegurley hashtag, you've seen "Free Gurley" on every available public space. Here is at the great 40 Watt Club. Here it is at a parking garage. I've even seen it on a few bumper stickers. (I had no idea bumper stickers could be printed so fast.) As a phenomenon, it is catching on.
So it is worth asking what, precisely, we're supposed to be saving Gurley from?
Todd Gurley is one of the best 10 running backs on earth, and he has been for roughly 18 months now. He's better this year, but there's no way, had they been given the opportunity, an NFL team wouldn't have paid him good money to play for them. But that's not how the NFL and college football work. You must have at least three years elapse from your high school graduation before you're even eligible to get paidfor your craft. Todd Gurley would have been a first-round draft pick this season, were he allowed. But he wasn't. So he had to come back for his junior year and play another season of college football.
Now, let's think about this from Gurley's perspective. The career window for running backs -- particularly in an NFL that is increasingly devaluing the position -- is vanishingly short. The average career length of an NFL running back is 2.57 years, and the average NFL player makes less, amazingly, than the average NHL player. Todd Gurley, for his otherworldly talent, even though he's still only 20 years old, has a ticking clock above his head at all times. He only gets to do this for so long. There are only so many bullets in the gun. Also: One wrong hit -- or even one wrong plant of the knee -- and it could be over like that.
The payday -- that's to say, the ability to, finally, receive some compensation for putting your body and future earning potential on the line once a week for other people's entertainment -- is just around the corner: Gurley only has a few more weeks left to play for free. Now, I don't see it that way, and the people with those signs around town don't see it that way, and the University of Georgia (currently paying for Gurley's legal representation, by the way) certainly don't see it that way: We all see it as Gurley entering the most important stretch of football in his career, a chance to lead the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff and potentially a Heisman Trophy. ("We're just ready to get him cleared and back out there," his teammates are saying.) But why should Gurley see it that way? The rest of Georgia's season isn't his prime: It's the obstruction. It's the last obstacle to be hurdled.
The insanity of Gurley -- a man whose jersey is at every store in town, including a kids version my son wears to tailgates -- having to sign autographs for $5 to $20 bucks in the first place has been well-documented but still can't be understated. How much money has Todd Gurley personally added to the coffers of televised sports executives and athletic directors this season?
Think about the world of sports, all the money that goes into and out of it. We in media are of course a part of that, and the amount of money that would get Gurley suspended for multiple games is roughly equivalent to what a small freelance story you wrote for this Website would get you paid. I'm proud of the work we do here, but suffice it to say, I'm not sure we're contributing more to the sports world than Todd Gurley is. But he's got to do it, because we offer him no more recourse.
So, dammit, if you're Todd Gurley … isn't this precisely what you should do? Todd Gurley's name at the University of Georgia will never be bigger than it is right now. If someone were being coldly logical about this, the smartest way for Gurley to secure his future isn't to get back on the field, but to sign every piece of memorabilia in sight, right now, for whatever he can get. Then get suspended and spend the next six months training for the combine. No one will hit him, his knee won't plant strangely on cheap turf, he can even, lo, hire an agent to make sure someone is watching out for what's best for him, not the university or that guy you'll never meet and shouldn't care about who's screaming for him from the East end zone.
I have little doubt that the Georgia football program, and coach Mark Richt, and his staff, care about Todd Gurley, and want him to do well. But I also know he's not their first priority. If he were, guys like Bryan Allen -- the memorabilia dealer who allegedly paid Gurley for autographed memorabilia -- wouldn't be in business.
Right now, if Gurley doesn't play again for Georgia this year, all he loses is potentially a Heisman Trophy that they could take away from him someday anyway and the small possibility of playing in a College Football Playoff that will literally double the amount of money that goes to hundreds of people who are not the ones actually playing the games. (And with this controversy having over his head the odds of winning the Heisman have are shrinking by the day.)
It would make me, and everyone in my town, and millions of college football fans, sad if Gurley was finished as a Georgia Bulldog. But with all due respect: Why should anybody care about us? We allow this corrupt system to exist. If we want players to put their bodies on the line every Saturday while we scream off all the bourbon we consumed pregame, we should make it worth their while. If we do not change the system, we cannot complain if someone begs out of it because it is not in their best interests.
As a fan, I really hope I get to watch Gurley play football in Athens against this year. But if I were close to him, I'd tell him to stay away. A logical person would sit tight and rest until the combine. A logical person would say to hell with all this.
Where the jobs are: Hot prospects for college grads
NOT ALL COLLEGE DEGREES ARE EQUAL, AND SOME METRO AREAS GIVE A BETTER HEAD START THAN OTHERS.
Hadley Malcolm and MaryJo Webster, USA TODAY
Andre Jones is making more money a year and a half out of college than he ever would have solely on the merits of his geography degree. When the 25 year-old was laid off from his job as a digital mapper, he decided to do something about his nascent interest in building a website.
Jones started taking online courses in coding languages, and spent the past summer at an intensive boot camp for coders. He had three job offers by the end of June. Now he makes double his previous technician salary as a developer for a Pittsburgh-based start-up called Geospatial Corporation.
"The job market is really strong and they desperately need people," Jones says of the exponential growth in companies looking for anyone with tech, engineering and computer skills.
And those aren't the only kinds of jobs companies are desperate to fill.
Computer engineers, data analysts, physician assistants, software developers and petroleum engineers, to name a few, are expected to become the most lucrative and highest demand professions in the next three years, according to a USA TODAY analysis of workforce projections by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a division of CareerBuilder.
The analysis shows 1.8 million new high-skill jobs are expected to be created by 2017, about a 6% increase from 2013. These jobs, which require at least a four-year bachelor's degree, will account for 27% of all new jobs in the next three years.
• Four metros in Texas, three in Utah and three in the Pacific Northwest are expected to see significant job growth across most high-skill occupations, creating nearly 260,000 jobs. America's biggest cities – New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago – will be job generators too, with more than 322,000 jobs total.
• Jobs with the highest expected growth rates may be relatively rare jobs, such as interpreters (projected growth of 19%) and genetic counselors (17%). But traditional, ubiquitous jobs such as teachers, managers and accountants top the list of occupations adding the greatest number of new jobs. Nearly 280,000 new jobs for elementary, secondary and postsecondary teachers are expected to be added by 2017.
• STEM jobs – those requiring a mastery of science, technology, engineering or math skills – are overwhelmingly in high demand and will account for about 38% of all high-skill jobs created; they are also typically among the highest paid.
Not all college grads have great prospects, though. While the economy gained nearly 250,000 jobs in September, wage growth has remained flat and initial jobless claims are still at pre-recession levels, making pockets of demand especially notable.
Still, the country faces a serious workforce problem when it comes to filling the jobs that require the highest level of skill and education. There aren't enough qualified job candidates, forcing companies to leave positions unfilled, hire people who are under-qualified, recruit talent outside of their home states or move business operations to new locations altogether. And in a global economy, in some cases Americans are competing for the highest-level jobs against a talent pool from around the world.
The nation faces a mounting student debt crisis as more people than ever are headed on the path to higher education. Yet universities are not graduating enough students in the degrees or skill-sets companies will most need in the near future.
States are already prepping for the deluge of job openings by implementing workforce development programs, introducing elementary school students to STEM curriculum, and adding new degree programs to public universities in fields such as information technology and electrical engineering.
Many of those are long-term solutions. In some cases, a college degree may need to be bypassed altogether. In order to turn out an adequately prepared high-skilled workforce in a short amount of time, there will have to be alternatives to higher education, experts say.
Ryan English was working as a headhunter for churches when he went on a mission trip along the Amazon River.
During that summer of 2009, he realized his favorite part of the trip was helping out in the medical and dental clinic. A few weeks after returning, he found out his wife was pregnant with their first child; it was just the motivation he needed to make a career change.
That's when the now 35-year-old started researching health care careers and found out about becoming a physician assistant. His undergraduate degree in youth ministry and speech communication wouldn't be any help. He'd have to go back to school.
But he knew the return on his investment by entering such an in-demand field would be worth it, he says.
"I was excited about doing health care, I was excited about medicine, but I wanted to make sure it was also worth the investment I was going to make and have a career that was viable long term," says English, who enrolled in the University of North Texas Health Science Center physician assistant masters program in Forth Worth last year after working for three years as a patient care technician.
Out of all high-skill occupations expected to grow at least 5% by 2017, physician assistant positions are among the jobs with both the highest growth and wage prospects. As the country deals with millions of aging Baby Boomers and more people have access to health care than ever before, both physician assistant and nurse practitioner jobs, with median wages of about $44 an hour, are expected to increase by at least 14% by 2017.
The great need for health care professionals may make some medical jobs more competitive too. Registered nursing positions, considered a middle-skill job by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, may soon become a high-skill job. By 2017, there may be more than 230,000 new nursing positions — a 9% increase — but many will require bachelor's degrees.
The industry has reached a point of having too many nurses with two-year degrees, and many hospitals now only hire those with four-year degrees, making nurses a classic case of a job "upskilling," experts say. The Institute of Medicine has also set a goal that 80% of nurses have bachelor's degrees by 2020, nearly double from currently.
In certain areas of the country, demand for health care providers will be especially high, particularly in Texas, where 217 of the state's 254 counties face shortages, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Texas metros dominate job creation with Houston, Dallas and McAllen adding nearly 700 new jobs by 2017.
But the seven physician assistant master's programs at Texas universities can only take 30 to 60 students on average for each incoming class.
"There's never going to be enough health care providers to take care of all the patients and all their needs," says Todd Pickard, president of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants. "We don't have enough programs or enough seats."
English's physician assistant program is one of the larger ones, accepting 75 students into each class. He's expected to graduate in the spring of 2016 and is already fielding interest from recruiters on a weekly basis. Even though he'll graduate $50,000-$60,000 in debt, he expects to be making around $90,000 in his first job and six figures within a couple years.
"I feel like I'm getting a cheap deal," he says.
Washington state faces a similar problem in turning out enough graduates in STEM-related fields. The Seattle metro area is one of the top 10 areas of the country where high-skill jobs are expected to grow the most by 2017. As the home to companies including Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, the biggest demand will be for jobs as information security analysts, computer systems analysts and software developers.
At the University of Washington-Tacoma campus, which houses the Institute of Technology, director Rob Friedman says the school tries to accept as many applicants as possible.
"We try our best to fill up every class we possibly can and not turn anybody away that's interested in pursuing these degrees," he says. The Institute of Technology offers five degree programs: in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, and master's degrees in computer science and cybersecurity.
The school, which has 700 students, has seen three consecutive years of at least 20% growth in the number of students it's admitting, and 90% of all undergraduates are immediately hired into "good jobs," Friedman says, "meaning more money than they ever expected to make."
Still, colleges aren't equipped to shoulder the entire burden of preparing a high-skilled workforce. Friedman admits universities can't move fast enough in hiring faculty and creating new degree programs to keep up with the demand for skilled graduates.
It took six years for The University of North Texas Health Science Center to increase the class size for its physician assistant program from 40 to 75. Discussions over adding cyber-operations and electrical engineering programs at UW Tacoma have been ongoing for the past year-and-a-half to two years, Friedman says. And even once the programs become available next fall, they'll each only have room for 30 students.
Some also argue that the college system as a whole doesn't do enough to prepare young adults for the workforce. Colleges don't give students enough information about job and wage prospects by degree or require them to take enough classes in their major, says Anthony Carnevale, director at Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. An American liberal arts education has students take about 60% of their course load outside their major with general requirements and electives, he says.
While there's significant value in the mission of a college education – "to allow you to live more fully in your time," Carnevale says – colleges need to figure how to connect students' education plan with their career plan.
"Colleges have to prepare people for work," Carnevale says. "If they don't they won't achieve their other missions. If you can't get a job you're not going to be a lifelong learner.You won't become a full citizen."
Even if colleges do step up workforce preparation, there's an issue of time when it comes to the education system.
"The challenge is you can't snap your fingers and suddenly get people through 15 years of school," says Chris Harder, economic development director at the Portland Development Commission in Portland, Ore., another high-growth area with a burgeoning tech start-up scene. "There needs to be alternatives to higher education for people getting into software and technology."
Retraining programs are popping up across the country. Treehouse, based in Portland, is an online coding school that teaches Web and mobile app development skills. An account costs $25 a month and students can "graduate" within six to 12 months, says co-founder and CEO Ryan Carson.
Jones, the geographic information systems developer, started his Web development education last summer by taking Treehouse courses. He still takes courses occasionally to keep his skills fresh. The advantage of programs like his, Carson says, is that they can get away with an extremely high student-to-teacher ratio. Treehouse works with 86,000 students around the world but only has a staff of about 70.
"There's an explosion in tech jobs," Carson says. "What we're seeing is that universities just can't graduate enough computer sciences (majors) to fill the need, so employers are having to resort to hiring people without experience."
In Portland, Treehouse is partnering with workforce development organization Worksystems to operate Code Oregon, a program that aims to give away 10,000 Treehouse accounts to Oregonians looking for work. The company also recently started working with a recruiter to help place Treehouse students in jobs once they've finished a course track. Portland is the fifth-ranked metro area expected to have significant job growth across nearly all high-skill occupations, behind Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Salt Lake City.
Community colleges are also stepping up with more degree programs, graduating students in half the time it typically takes to finish from a university. Washington has more than 30 community and technical colleges, compared with just six public, four-year institutions. Many of them are adding degree programs such as a bachelor of applied science in application development and electrical engineering.
"It's alleviating a burden on us for the demand for tech-related degrees," Friedman says.
The Obama administration has also made community colleges a priority, with an initiative that provides billions in funding to schools and has a goal of adding 5 million new graduates by 2020.
In other areas of the country, states are dealing with the growing skills gap by attempting to capture kids' interest in subjects like engineering and math at a young age.
In Utah, where the Provo and Salt Lake City metro areas are expected to see some of the highest growth in high-skill jobs in the country, the governor's office created a STEM Action Center.The center provides funding for hands-on digital programs that teach students math skills, coding and engineering as early as seventh grade, and training opportunities for teachers so they're better prepared to teach STEM curriculum.
Provo and Salt Lake City are expected to have an influx of computer science, engineering, and software jobs in the next three years. Companies, including Oracle, Ebay and Adobe, all have major operations in the Salt Lake City area, which some have dubbed Silicon Slopes for its concentration of tech companies against the backdrop of snowy mountains.
In the Granite School District in Salt Lake County, a program called BioInnovations Gateway provides lab space to local start-ups and in exchange, the companies employ high school and college students as interns. Many of them end up getting hired, some straight out of high school.
Chandler Bradford, 18, is making relative pennies as a lab assistant for the biotech start-up he interned for as a senior at Taylorsville High School in Taylorsville, Utah. After graduating in June, the company, Knudra Transgenics, hired Bradford. He makes $7.50 an hour and works about 30 hours a week while taking courses at a community college. He says the experience, both as an intern and now, is worth more than his meager pay.
"This has really helped what I want to do and where I want to go in life," says Bradford, who hopes to study molecular biology at the University of Utah.
With more than 7,000 new jobs in STEM fields expected across Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden metro areas by 2017, getting future graduates interested now is crucial to filling the jobs gap, says Tami Goetz, director of the STEM Action Center.
"You can bring people out of state as a short-term fix but if we don't address it internally we're just putting a band aid on the problem," she says.
Some tech companies say finding talent isn't the problem. Particularly on a global scale, there are plenty of data scientists and computer engineers, says Jeff Vijungco, vice president of global talent acquisition and development at Adobe. It's competing for the same high-skilled employee base as so many other data-driven companies that makes recruiting people difficult.
"The recruiting process is probably the most aggressive recruiting environment I've seen in years," Vijungco says.
“Great talent has options”
JEFF VJUNGCO, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL TALENT ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT AT ADOBE
The top jobs Adobe is hiring for right now are designers, data scientists and software engineers, Vijungco says. Adobe has more than two dozen offices around the world, including one in Seattle and one in Lehi, Utah, outside of Salt Lake City.
"I can find them pretty quickly," Vijungco says, but "great talent has options."
As areas that have perhaps historically been viewed as second-tier markets expand, companies also have to convince potential hires to come to cities such as Portland and Salt Lake City. The major metro areas, including New York City, Washington, Houston and Los Angeles, are still expected to take the lead on the total number of new high-skill jobs in the next three years. But those areas aren't necessarily going to experience the most growth or demand for those skills.
Nationally, about 100,000 software jobs will be added, as well as 12,000 information security analysts. Salt Lake City is expected to have an 18% increase in job openings for software systems developers, a position that pays about $91,500 a year. In the New York City metro area, that job is only expected to increase by 8%. Meanwhile, Portland will experience 17% growth in market research analyst positions; computer systems analysts and lab technicians in Portland are also expected to grow 12%-13%.
Surveys find Millennials in particular are prioritizing quality of life and work-life balance more than previous generations – convincing them to move to outdoors destinations like Oregon and Utah isn't necessarily a hard sell, not to mention a cheaper sell.
Pamela Ju, 27, moved to Portland from Cincinnati six months ago when she was hired as a marketing analyst at Puppet Labs, an IT automation software company. She was looking to change jobs, and "the fact that it was based out of Portland was very appealing," she says of Puppet Labs.
"Portland seemed like a really exciting place to live because of a lot of the lifestyle benefits that we hear so much about in the rest of the country," she says. "The public transit, the delicious food, beer, wine and coffee, the proximity to the mountains and the ocean, and the overall respect for the environment. ... And Portland seemed like a great place to be professionally because of its growing tech scene, the entrepreneurial energy that it draws."
Attracting the right talent to these growth areas will also be crucial to the local economies, say John Wenstrup and Joel Janda, partners at Boston Consulting Group in Seattle. Both contributed to a study out last year on the lack of locals who could fill a mounting jobs gap in Washington state. They found that if the gap is closed, it could mean 160,000 jobs and $720 million a year in new state revenue.
They also say states may have to resort to unconventional methods in order to train enough people to fill the biggest needs.
"To solve this problem, ultimately the opportunity is so large, the need is so great, it's not just about increasing the capacity of the current system," Janda says. "There's going to be a transformation that's going to be required that changes the way education is delivered."
However states approach the challenge, they stand to gain not only a more diverse, highly skilled workforce, but a stronger, more competitive economy.
Says Wenstrup, "There probably is no greater return on investment than doing things that attract people to fill these unfilled jobs."
This abstract was written by Richard T. Karcher “Assistant Professor of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law. Prior to becoming a full-time law professor, Professor Karcher was a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Before earning his bachelor's degree, Professor Karcher played three seasons as a first baseman for the Atlanta Braves.”
It is in the form of a PDF file which I could not copy but can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
June 23, 2014 | 4:30 PM
Written By: DAN MCQUADE Contributor
NCAA'S RULE ON AGENTS AND THE MLB DRAFT IS SENSELESS AND STUPID
Ten high school seniors were taken in the first round of this year's Major League Baseball draft. Seventeen college juniors were picked, too. They and all the other high school seniors and college juniors picked in this year's draft share one thing in common: They cannot use an agent to negotiate with their prospective employers. We all got a lesson last year in what can happen if they do.
Speaking of that lesson, the Philadelphia Phillies aren't exactly known for their acumen. And that's probably understating it a little. By one analysis, their previous 10 drafts ranked dead last in baseball by a wide margin. But perhaps things are looking up. Many analysts ranked their 2013 draft as fairly successful. "The Phillies had my favorite top five picks of any draft class in the NL," wrote ESPN's Keith Law. But it was players the Phillies took with their sixth and seventh selections who made news for the team the following winter.
The Phillies had taken Oregon State's Ben Wetzler in the fifth round and Washington State's Jason Monda in the sixth. Neither player signed. Baseball America ranked the duoNo. 3 and No. 4 of the "Ones Who Got Away" in its autumn draft round-up.
In February, BA's Aaron Fitt reported the Phillies accused both Wetzler and Monda of NCAA rules violations, and turned the two into the NCAA. Though the NCAA eventually cleared Monda, it suspended Wetzler for 11 games, or 20 percent of the season.
The rule-breaking by the pair? The Phillies alleged each used an agent when negotiating with the team. NCAA rules prohibit players from hiring an agent in order to negotiate with a team. Though players can have a lawyer or agent look over contracts and offer advice, any contact between an agent and a pro team is verboten. The agent can't even be in the room when a player is negotiating with a team. This is what apparently got Wetzler. Though he handled contract negotiations with the Phillies on his own, at one point an agent was in the room when he was meeting with team executives.
The rule is silly, but there is an upside. The teams generally ignore it. Players use agents to negotiate with clubs and, if they don't sign, return to school as if nothing happened. "Every single player that we deal with—I don't care what round you're talking about—has representation, has an agent," an AL scouting director told Baseball America in 2008.
The players who are suspended by the NCAA for using an agent usually get caught because of the NCAA. Per Baseball America, the Phillies were the first team to turn in a player who didn't sign with them since the White Sox narced on A.J. Hinch in 1992.
The MLB draft isn't like the NBA or NFL drafts where players declare their eligibility. Players are simply drafted whether they like it or not. They can be selected directly out of high school or after their junior or senior year of college. Teams negotiate with players before the draft to assess their likelihood of signing, and teams have incentives to attempt to take signable players: In addition to losing the draft pick, current draft rules limit the amount of bonus money teams can spend on players when players in the top 10 don't sign. That bonus money just can't be reallocated elsewhere. The Phillies later indicated they believed both Wetzler and Monda would sign and were upset neither decided to.
A BA reporter called the Phillies' narcing "unprecedented." The baseball media burned the team. "I'd suggest a pox on the Phillies' house but jeez, Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn't need my help," SI.com's Jay Jaffe tweeted. "I guess we should be happy Phillies are only a baseball team and not in the position to do things like report Chinese dissidents," tweeted ESPN analyst Dan Szymborski. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal called the Phillies' actions"inappropriate." Eighty-four percent of fans polled on Phillies blog The Good Phight were "unsatisfied" with the Phillies' statement on the issue.
A forum thread headline on SportsHoopla.com put it succinctly: "Phillies front office: Spiteful shits."
The Phillies were silent on the issue for months, but director of scouting Marti Wolever finally broke the team's silence in an interview with reporters before last weekend's draft. He says that, despite initial reports to the contrary by agents, the flare-up hadn't harmed the team in negotiations with any agents. And —though general manager Ruben Amaro said he wishes the team had handled it better — Wolever says he's not upset or embarrassed at the way the Phillies acted. In fact, he's proud! "You wouldn't believe the number of people in professional baseball who have come up to me and our group over the course of the year and say, 'Thank you for what you did,'" Wolever told reporters "You guys aren't the bad guys in this situation."
Turning in players on dumb rules violations certainly makes the Phillies look bad, but whether they are bad guys—Wolever said the team was responding to a questionnaire from the NCAA—isn't really the point. The NCAA rule is stupid. It should be changed. It's as simple as that. The NCAA has been under fire for exploiting college athletes the last few years, but this rule doesn't even do the NCAA any good. It's a pointless rule, one protecting an imaginary ideal of amateurism—but it even fails on that measure. Logically, there's nothing about hiring an agent to consider turning professional that compromises an athlete's amateur status. It's a rule for rule's sake. Teenagers have to negotiate with billion-dollar businesses on their own. It's tremendously unfair, and the NCAA isn't even making any money from it! It's especially dumb, even for them.
Oregon State was incredibly angry. In a release announcing Wetzler's 11-game suspension, the school blasted the NCAA for the stupidity of the rule. "A student-athlete sought advice on whether to go pro or return to school," Steve Clark, the school's vice president for University Relations and Marketing, said..
"He received that advice, and now he is being punished by the NCAA for making a decision to complete his education—a decision that we should all applaud. This is inexplicable."
"Once the player is drafted, there is no compelling reason to deny a player the opportunity to obtain maximum value for his services," Florida Coastal School of Law wrote in a 2005 paper in the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, "even if that requires retaining an experienced agent to negotiate with the club." Players are drafted in the middle of the college baseball postseason. They are busy! They should be able to have an agent negotiate for them. Even the Phillies' Wolever sees the stupidity: "I think the NCAA needs to stand up and say, look, all these kids are represented, they have agents and advisors, if you are going to have rules, then enforce them, and if you are going to not, then don't have them."
Wetzler was selected again this year in the 9th round by the Miami Marlins, his draft stock possibly dropping a bit after being arrested for allegedly breaking a window while drunk.
Monda, of Washington State, doesn't want to play pro ball and is going to med school.
Everything worked out, it seems. These are isolated incidents. But that doesn't make it any more sensible.
The NCAA really needs to change the rule and allow kids to use agents. It's only fair.
“Every baseball player seeking a professional career needs an agent to negotiate and advocate on their behalf. “
Does a High School Baseball Player need an Agent? Yes, but only if…
When should a high school baseball player sign with an agent is a a common question players and their families must decide upon being drafted. Unfortunately, there isn’t one right or wrong answer.
Thus, this article will address the various issues a high school baseball player who gets drafted should consider when selecting or deciding on an agent to help them with their career.
First Question: Do you want to play professional baseball?
I know it sounds crazy, because after all…you have been working towards this moment your whole life. The first question a high school baseball player considering an agent must ask themselves is whether or not you want to play professional baseball.
Forget about the hype, forget about the thrill of having your name called, forget about the hundreds oftweets you received, and forget about the cute girl who wants you to call her. Instead, ask yourself this – are you ready to devote every hour of every day to your craft?
A high school baseball player considering an agent needs to ask themselves whether they indeed want to play professional baseball before contacting an agent.
Thus, if the answer to the question of whether you want to play professional baseball is yes, please read on.
Second Question: Do you want to go to college?
College and playing baseball are not the same thing. Some players use baseball to get themselves a college scholarship while others use college to play baseball. Which one are you? If you want to use baseball to go to college, please note your first professional contract can incorporate a Baseball College Scholarship Plan.
On the other hand, if view college as an opportunity to play baseball with the hopes of taking your career to the next level, then perhaps being drafted as a high school baseball player and seeking an agent is the path for you.
Where you get drafted matters
Do not let anybody tell you otherwise…the order or number you get drafted matters. It matters because your draft selection is linked to your signing bonus. Obviously a player drafted in the first round will make more in their singing bonus than a player drafted in the 40th round.
Your signing bonus should be negotiated by encouraging the professional team who drafted you to consider you exchanging your youth (the four years you likely would have spent in college) over to a professional baseball team.
Look, college is important to some and not important to others. Ultimately, the intent of going to college is to make yourself valuable for a career. If you didn’t play baseball, what is your back-up plan and what type of job or career are you after? Playing baseball in college is about baseball but also about growth as a person. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling yourself you need more time to mature as a person.
A high school baseball player who signs with an agent waives their college eligibility
Yes, a high school baseball player who gets drafted and signs an agreement to retain an agent generally waives their eligibility to play college baseball. That said, waiving your college eligibility to play baseball shouldn’t be the end of the world provided you incorporated a Baseball College Scholarship Plan into your first professional contract.
Yes, this is a service announcement for you or your representative to always always always negotiate a Baseball College Scholarship Plan into your first contract. In fact, this benefit might be the most valuable benefit in your entire contract.
Point: a baseball player drafted out of high school who signs with an agent isn’t waiving their right to attend college. Instead, you are waiving your right to play college baseball. Yes, there is a difference and this is a personal choice.
What if you never get drafted again?
The fear of every high school baseball player who gets drafted and weighs whether or not they should retain an agent has to speculate whether or not you will ever get drafted down the road if the drafted baseball player does not sign a contract. If you know your baseball history, there are hundreds of players who get drafted once and only once. On the other hand, there are hundreds of players who get drafted once, twice, and three times.
Lets be honest – if you have the skills to play professional baseball…you should convince yourself that you will get drafted again down the road if you decide not to sign a contract. Do not retain an agent and attempt a professional baseball contract just because you see dollar signs and want to reap the rewards of a signing bonus. This is the wrong approach to a career - if indeed you are willing to make baseball your career because doing so requires a 110% commitment and you will be asked to practice for hours and hours. Are you read for that?
Whether you get drafted again depends on your career going forward. If you play college baseball and fail, you likely won’t get drafted again. If you play college baseball and improve or show promise, one should assume you will get drafted a second time.
Even better, if you get drafted in a higher round – you likely can expect a higher signing bonus and will be more mature to approach baseball as a career that happens to pay well upon proving you are 1 of the best 750 people in the world (25 person roster x 30 teams = 750 players who earn a major league salary).
Final thoughts on a high school baseball player needing an agent…
Every baseball player seeking a professional career needs an agent to negotiate and advocate on their behalf. The rules applicable to a professional player are way to complicated to suggest otherwise.
The real question you need to ask yourself – do you want a career playing professional baseball and is today the day you want to start devoting every hour of every day to your skill? If yes, then consider contacting an agent to help you make the next step.