SBJ/January 9-15, 2012/Lagor and Agents

Former player Sims signs first big prospect for NFL draft

Liz Mullen
The season for signing top prospects for the 2012 NFL draft started in earnest last week, and former NFL player-turned-agent Thomas Sims signed his first big prospect: University of North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.

Coples was ranked last week by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 11 prospect in the draft. Sims, who joined Allegiant Athletic Agency in 2010 after a short NFL playing career in the 1980s, will serve as the lead agent for Coples. Agency president and NFL agent Chad Speck will co-represent him.

Quinton Coples of North Carolina signed with Allegiant Athletic Agency.
Photo by: ICON SMI
Coples played defensive end and defensive tackle at North Carolina, but Sims said he will play defensive end in the NFL. “They played him at tackle at UNC on different schemes, but his natural ability is to rush the passer,” Sims said.

SIGNINGS FOR ROSENHAUS, SELECT, PRIORITY: Rosenhaus Sports signed Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still for representation in the 2012 NFL draft. Agents and brothers Drew and Jason Rosenhaus will represent Still, who was ranked No. 8 by NFLDraftScout.com last week. … Select Sports Group signed Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright. NFLDraftScout.com ranked Wright No. 15 last week. Agents Vann McElroy, Jeff Nalley and Graylan Crain will represent him. … Priority Sports & Entertainment has signed a number of prospects for this year’s draft, including Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. Priority also signed North Carolina State linebacker Audie Cole and Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead. Agent Kenny Zuckerman will represent Wagner, agent Mike McCartney will represent Cousins, agent Deryk Gilmore will represent Cole, and agent Rick Smith will represent Pead.

Schaffer
SMITH, SCHAFFER SUING EACH OTHER:
NFL player agent Lamont Smith and his former business partner of more than two decades, NFL player agent Peter Schaffer, are suing each other after Schaffer left All Pro Sports & Entertainment last year, taking about 50 player clients with him.

As first reported in the Denver Business Journal, an affiliated publication of SportsBusiness Journal, Smith sued Schaffer in state court in Denver in September, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets, among other things. Schaffer countersued in November, alleging tortious interference of contract and breach of contract, among other things.
Smith

Smith alleges that Schaffer received payments that were supposed to go to APSE, including money that former APSE client and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith owed to the agency after he fired them and signed with agents Drew and Jason Rosenhaus. The lawsuit alleges that Rosenhaus Sports advised APSE that there was an agreement between Rosenhaus Sports and Schaffer for repayment of money advanced to Smith for training and other things, but that none of the money went to APSE.

Drew Rosenhaus declined to comment.

Schaffer alleges that Smith diverted millions of dollars from APSE without corporate approval, including paying with APSE funds travel, meals and other expenses of a “youth/high school”-aged basketball team, thereby jeopardizing those athletes’ college eligibility.

Smith said the allegation regarding paying expenses for a youth basketball team is not true, saying, “It was a team of professional athletes that went overseas.”

Both Schaffer and Smith said the lawsuits were filed after they were unable to settle their differences over their split, but both indicated there was still a chance they could settle matters.

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

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