SBJ/May 28-June 3, 2012/Labor and Agents

Wing special: BDA Sports loads up on NBA draft prospects

Liz Mullen
BDA Sports has signed a class of 11 prospects for the NBA draft, headed up by Baylor forward Perry Jones and Vanderbilt forward Jeff Taylor.

The firm, founded by NBA agent Bill Duffy, also has signed UC Santa Barbara guard Orlando Johnson, Long Beach State guard Casper Ware, Stanford forward Josh Owens, New Mexico forward Drew Gordon, Texas guard J’Covan Brown, Missouri guard Marcus Denmon, Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins, and center Ognjen Kuzmic from Euroleague team Baloncesto Málaga.

Perry Jones of Baylor is one of 11 players in BDA Sports’ NBA draft class.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Duffy, who has been an agent for 25 years, said this draft is especially deep for wing players (guards and forwards), which is one reason BDA worked to build the class it did. “It is an aggressive class,” Duffy said. But he noted that although BDA signed a lot of players, there remains a low agent-to-player ratio with the firm. Duffy will represent the players along with six other agents at BDA: Todd Ramasar, Kevin Bradbury, Calvin Andrews, Rade Filipovich, Ugo Udezue and David Mondress.

NFLPA RUNNER BAN BEGINS: The NFL Players Association will send out official notice to agents this week that the prohibition on their using employees who are not certified agents to recruit college football players takes effect Friday, according to a source.

The union’s player representatives passed the “runner ban” at the NFLPA’s annual meeting in March, the same time they eliminated the “junior rule,” which prohibited NFLPA-certified agents from talking to college football players until players were three years past their high school graduation. Agents now will be allowed to talk to underclassmen, effective Friday as well.

STEINBERG DEPARTURE, ONE YEAR LATER: It’s been a year since golf agent Mark Steinberg left IMG, and sources said that some of the restrictions in his old employment agreement have expired.

One source said that Steinberg, agent to Tiger Woods, who joined Excel Sports Management as a partner last year, was prohibited from taking IMG employees with him for 12 months. Sources requested anonymity, saying the terms of his old contract were confidential.

Steinberg, in a text message, declined to comment on his contract situation. An IMG spokesman declined to comment.
In addition, while Woods departed IMG with Steinberg for Excel, a source said Steinberg was and remains prohibited from taking other IMG clients with him for 24 months, a period that would extend until this time next year.

Meanwhile, Steinberg and Excel last week signed Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods’ niece and a Wake Forest golfer who recently turned pro. Steinberg, via text, said last week he had just begun to talk to companies about deals for Cheyenne Woods.

AUTHENTIC ATHLETIX SIGNS NFL PLAYERS: Authentic Athletix, the firm founded by NFL agent Peter Schaffer, has signed a number of players, including cornerback Patrick Robinson, who was drafted No. 32 overall by New Orleans in the 2010 draft.

Schaffer’s company also signed Pittsburgh linebacker Stevenson Sylvester and Tampa Bay linebacker Dekoda Watson. The firm now represents about 60 NFL players. Robinson and Watson were formerly represented by Universal Sports & Entertainment Management. Sylvester had been without an agent.

Meanwhile, as first reported by the Denver Business Journal, a March 2013 trial date has been set in the litigation between Schaffer and former partner Lamont Smith, founder of All Pro Sports & Entertainment. Schaffer left All Pro in August. In a preliminary ruling, Denver District Judge Edward Bronfin ruled an assignment agreement Schaffer signed regarding clients he signed while at All Pro was enforceable. Bronfin ordered him to pay $263,432 for past representation fees and $653,955 in future fees on clients to a court-ordered receiver. Bronfin found there was a danger of irreparable injury and that the money “will put All Pro in the best position to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection.”

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen. Staff writer Michael Smith contributed to this report.

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