SBJ/March 7-13, 2011/Labor and Agents

Hambric settles lawsuit over IMG’s signing of Anthony Kim

Liz Mullen
Golf agency Hambric Sports Management has quietly settled its lawsuit against former client and PGA star Anthony Kim and his new agency, IMG, according to sources and court records.

The case was filed in 2008 after Kim fired veteran golf agent Rocky Hambric, his first agent, and signed with IMG. The case has been the talk of the golf world because of its potential to reveal secrets about the golf talent representation business.

Hambric had subpoenaed numerous documents from IMG, including notes, letters, e-mails and memos, which referred to any and all communications or meetings the agency had regarding IMG representing Kim. But Hambric Sports; Kim’s company, Team AK Inc.; and IMG filed a notice of settlement in U.S. District Court in Dallas late last year. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Kim
GETTY IMAGES
PGA Tour player Anthony Kim swung from Hambric Sports Management to IMG in 2008.
Officials from IMG and Hambric Sports declined comment. Attempts to reach Kim for comment were unsuccessful.

“The parties state that they have settled in principal all claims between them,” according to the notice.
Hambric also sued another agency, Gaylord Sports Management, and Kim’s adviser, Sterling Ball, in regard to the matter. The settlement with IMG and Kim “does not implicate or end the ongoing dispute” with Gaylord and Ball, the notice of settlement states.

AGENT HANDCUFFING ROCKS COMBINE: Every year it seems, in the business of representing premier college football players headed for the NFL draft, there is some sort of controversy involving at least one high-profile agent. Some years, the drama involves a prospect’s agent switch, and there have been at least a couple of public arguments that have almost resulted in fisticuffs over an agent firing.

Last week, the agent rumor mill went into overdrive with talk that a high-profile NFL agent was handcuffed for some alleged wrongdoing involving access to players at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. As happens in the NFL agent community, the story grew larger than life, as it continued for days without any official comment from Indianapolis police or the NFL as to what happened, with several high-profile agents from at least two different agencies rumored to be involved in some way.

After an Internet report naming prominent agent Pat Dye Jr. as the agent handcuffed, Dye acknowledged that he was detained by Indianapolis police and later released for entering the Crowne Plaza, the players’ hotel.
The Crowne Plaza is one of a few areas set up for the combine that NFL Scouting, the company that runs the event, has deemed “secure” to only allow players, the NFL and NFL Scouting staff.

Dye said he was handcuffed and questioned by Indianapolis police after he and his partner, agent Jimmy Sexton, went to the players’ hotel on Thursday night of the combine to finalize a marketing deal with Under Armour, at the invitation of Under Armour.

“We were contacted by Under Armour that they would like to have [Dye’s and Sexton’s client Alabama wide receiver] Julio Jones formally sign his seven-figure marketing deal that includes a national television commercial,” Dye said last week.

Dye added that Under Armour provided the credentials. “I did nothing wrong or illegal,” he said.

The NFL, meanwhile, did its own investigation of the incident.

“Those who used the credentials were fully cooperative with security when the misuse of credentials was discovered, and explained that they had no intent to violate Combine rules and access a secure area,” said the NFL, in a statement. “They believed at all times that the credentials were appropriately authorized. After fully reviewing the facts, we accept this explanation and consider the matter closed.”

The NFL also noted the following: “Those who provided the credentials were dismissed from the Combine.”

Under Armour declined to comment on this story.

ORNSTEIN IN INDIANAPOLIS: One of the aforementioned NFL combine dramas involving agents in years past occurred last year in Pullman’s Restaurant, a pub attached to the very same players hotel where the incident with Dye occurred this year. That issue involved Mike Ornstein and Bill Henkel and the marketing representation of two prospective NFL players.

Ornstein caused a stir at the combine again this year simply by being in attendance. Perhaps best known as the former marketing agent to New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, Ornstein was sentenced in November to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to two felonies involving the resale of Super Bowl tickets and NFL jerseys falsely advertised as game-worn.

People at the combine were surprised to see Ornstein at a number of restaurants and hotels around downtown where NFL-related events were being held, including in the Westin Hotel, where the league held its meeting for general managers and coaches.

Ornstein told people in Indianapolis that he would be reporting to prison soon, sources said. At press time for this column early last week, the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator stated Ornstein was “in transit,” which means he is under the supervision of federal marshals, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons said.

OCTAGON SIGNS NICHOLAS: Octagon has signed Atlanta Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas. Octagon agents Doug Hendrickson and CJ LaBoy will represent him. He was formerly represented by agent Chad Speck.

MAXX SIGNS EVANS FOR POST-NFL WORK: Maxx Sports Entertainment has signed New Orleans Saints running back Heath Evans for broadcasting work after his NFL playing career. Maxx President Mark Lepselter and Maxx agent Michael Klein will represent him. Evans, 32, completed his 10th NFL season in 2010.

Maxx specializes in representing athletes for post-career work. Maxx client and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick, who is an analyst for Versus and the NHL Network, recently signed a deal with HarperCollins to write an autobiography.�8;

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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