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Voices in the Field: Special Guest, Leigh Steinberg

By Dr. Brittany JacobsDepartment Chair, Sports Management & Esports and
Dr. James ReeseFaculty Member, Practicum Coordinator & Community Relations, Sports Management & ESports and
Leigh Steinberg, sports agent, author, speaker

How do you start your own business in sports? What’s it like representing athletes? How are AI and NIL impacting players? Renowned sports agent, philanthropist, author, and the inspiration behind “Jerry Maguire,” Leigh Steinberg, sits down with APU’s Dr. Jim Reese and Dr. Brittany Jacobs today to discuss all this, and more, while answering questions submitted by our students.

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Read the Transcript:

Jim Reese: Hello and welcome to our Voices in the Field podcast series, brought to you by the APU Sports Management Program. My name is Dr. Jim Reese and I’m joined by my colleague, Dr. Brittany Jacobs, and, in a few seconds, we’ll be joined by our special guest, Mr. Leigh Steinberg. But first, Britt, you’ve been working on some questions from students, and if you’d be kind enough to explain to everyone how that’s going to work today, that would be wonderful.

Brittany Jacobs: Absolutely. Thank you, Jim. So, what’s going to happen is, we have been collecting questions from our students, and I will pop in throughout this podcast to ask those questions to Mr. Leigh Steinberg here.

Jim Reese: All right, well thank you Britt, and Leigh, welcome. We’ve been connected on LinkedIn for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve actually got a chance to talk to you, so it’s exciting.

Leigh Steinberg: Happy to be here.

Jim Reese: It’s a real pleasure to have you, and we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule for us. This podcast series is mainly designed for our students, to share real world experience with our students, and stress how important that is in securing a job in the industry and being successful in the industry, and so that’s what our questions are designed to do. There’s a lot of kind of content questions in there and some personal ones, as well. So, we were just wondering, what’s your why or what’s your juice, or what is it that keeps you going in a very difficult and competitive business?

Leigh Steinberg: So, I was raised by a father who stressed two core values. One was: treasure relationships, especially family. And, the second was to try to make a meaningful, positive impact in the world, and heal other people’s pain and help people who can’t help themselves. So, I’ve always been hardwired to try to make a meaningful contribution to the world, and I knew that at some point, I’d find a profession that I would be able to integrate those values with so that it was not simply a job, it was my life’s work.

Jim Reese: Yeah, I think Britt and I can probably relate, because it’s very similar. For myself, I can say that I am so fortunate to have found something that I’m passionate about, because not everyone can say that, and so, I just consider it a privilege to do what we do every day. It sounds like we have some similar thinking there and suspect that Brittany, she’s shaking her head, so I suspect that she’s on the same page as well.

Brittany Jacobs: Yes, I would definitely echo those sentiments.

Jim Reese: So, Leigh, what’s the state of the agency field right now? How are things going and are there any major problems or things that are going really well, just either one way or the other?

Leigh Steinberg: Well, the economics have exploded in all professional sports, and in collegiate sports, also. So, that really is occasioned by the expansion of television. So, when I was growing up, you had to do a funny thing to change a channel on a television set. You had to actually put your hand up and turn the channel, so it meant there were three competitive networks. Well, now we have endless options and it means more sports on television, it means not simply the games, but the opinion shows and the highlight shows and the feature shows, and it blew right speeds through the roof. So, a team in the NFL—that, in 1975, when I started, received $2 million from the national TV contract—last year, got $200 million and just signed a new contract that’ll take them up to probably 350 million dollars a team just from national TV. And you’ve seen the explosion of fantasy and new revenue streams, so from that standpoint, everything’s alive and well. Along comes NIL and changes the landscape on college campuses forever.

And, in terms of the agent business, it means that, in normal circumstances, I would be talking to a college football player before the junior year, if they were going to come out of school, but maybe in their senior year. And, I’d be talking to the parents first, and then to the player. Now, you have high schoolers that are involved in branding themselves, and name, image, and likeness, and that means that, instead of me talking to a set of parents and a pretty mature young man—he could be 16 or 17 years old—well, I’m not really set up to do that.

And, the thrust of our practice is to find special athletes that are willing to serve as role models. Go back, and retrace their roots to the high school community, and set up a scholarship fund, or a Boys & Girls Club, or work with a church.

At the collegiate level, bond with the alums, Troy Aikman endowed a full scholarship at UCLA. And then, at the pro level, set up a charitable foundation that has the leading business figures, political figures, and community leaders on the board, and then execute a program. So, that would be like work done: a former running back putting the 200th single mother and her family in the first home they’ll ever own. Well, you can see that making that same pitch to a high schooler might not resonate very well.

So, it’s a major, major change. And, no one thought, when SB-206 passed in California, that you would have collectives at schools across the country with fired up alums using their businesses to funnel money into recruiting on a college campus and transfer portal, also. So now, all of a sudden, the Power Five, which has just become the Power Four—these conferences are going to separate from everyone else, and you’ll have the best players at 40 institutions. Those will be the haves and everyone else will be the have nots. So, that’s all challenging.

And, my role’s changed in the sense that, now, I need to master every form of social media, because the currency for endorsements is: How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many followers on TikTok? How many followers on Instagram? So, it’s all about the visuals, the graphics, the way that a website looks, and being able to project an individual image that’s attractive.

Jim Reese: Two quick points and then I’m going to pass it over to Britt because I think we have an NIL question.

Brittany Jacobs: We do indeed.

Jim Reese: I have numerous former students, and I’m sure Britt has some too, that were working in college athletics, and they’re telling us it’s the wild, wild West out there right now.

Leigh Steinberg: Here is the point. When Nancy Skinner, state senator in California, proposed NIL for California athletes, what happened is, it had a start time three years from then, and every other state in the Union said, “Oh my goodness, California is going to sign all the good athletes, because they can go there and make a fortune.” So, the Alabama and Ohio States of the world pushed the NCAA to allow this system. What never went into effect was regulation.

And so, where I’m regulated as an agent by the Players Association for whatever team sport you’re representing, by state regulation, and, ultimately, by college compliance on the campus, where they may have their own standards. Plus, I’m an attorney, so I’ve got four levels of regulation. The level of regulation of these marketing agents, who usually are professional agents, too, is nothing. It’s the Oklahoma Land Rush, the wild, wild West, whatever analogy you’d like to use. But, those colleges that figured this out quickly are at a competitive advantage, and if you have a massive alum base with people that are fervent about the program, then, all of a sudden, oh my God, they can outbid anybody.

Jim Reese: Britt, would you like to go ahead and share the first question from one of our students?

Brittany Jacobs: Absolutely. So Leigh, this one comes from Tony Booker and he wants to know, do you see a role in the future with agents helping those student athletes getting NIL deals done? And you kind of talked about this a little bit, but do you mind digging into that a little further for us?

Leigh Steinberg: So, if you have any aspiration for wanting to represent a player when they decide to turn pro, then the first opportunity to interact with that player is when they’re in high school. So, Bryce Young was doing NILs in high school. Someone like Caleb Williams made a significant amount of money last year because he’s at USC. So, if someone wants to represent athletes, they better figure out a strategy that gets them much earlier to that athlete. Now, there are only two rules that compromise player eligibility. One is, they can’t sign with an agent while they still have eligibility. Second is, they can’t take something of value from an agent and retain eligibility. But, NIL changes all that, right? And so, they can sign with a marketing director, but who’s regulating the marketing process? Who’s regulating the contract that’s signed between the player, family, and the agent?

And when you represent a player, ordinarily, for the draft and his pro contract—if it’s a football player, the Players Association, the NFLPA, gives you a standard form that protects players, that you must sign, or you’re not officially representing that player. No such regulation exists here. And I think, ultimately, this is going to devolve into a situation where there is no NCAA with jurisdiction over the top players. The conferences will do their own negotiating for TV contracts, they’ll set up their own set of rules, and there’ll be one set of rules for 40 schools, and the rest of them will struggle. And, the sad thing about this breakup of conferences and the money-oriented way it happens is, it’s going to impact the non-revenue sports. It doesn’t just affect football and basketball; it affects women’s volleyball, it affects soccer. Every non-revenue sport is going to start to struggle if they don’t make that cut to the top 40 schools.

Jim Reese: I can definitely see that happening, and I’ve heard through the grapevine—you know how that goes— that some of these ADs are already banding together and having meetings about things like that, so it would be interesting to see how long the NCAA does last from this point forward. Leigh, this next question was, I did some research to prepare for this and I read some information about the effects of CTE and how that’s impacting not just the athletes, but families and agents and everyone.

You think of Tua from last year, stumbling and barely being able to walk and has been staying in the game, and then playing I think the next week or two weeks later. In your opinion, is the protocol safe or is it being done right? Or, does it need to be changed or modified?

Leigh Steinberg: Back in the nineties, I suffered a crisis of conscience because I was representing half the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. They kept getting hit in the head and we’d go to doctors and ask how many is too many? What are the long-term effects? And they had no answers because the brain is last frontier research. Well, I thought I can’t do this profession if I’m sending my clients down the road to dementia. And everyone thinks about the knockout blows, and they’re really impactful. But, every time, in football, a lineman hits a lineman at the inception of a play, it produces a low-level, sub-concussive event. So, you could have an offensive lineman walk out of high school, college, and pro football with 10,000 sub-concussive events, none of which are diagnosed and none of which he’s aware of. The player just feels stunned like he normally does.

But the aggregate of that almost certainly does the same thing that three or four knockout blows do, and that’s propensity towards Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, premature senility, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and depression. So, I started holding conferences and the first one was in the nineties and Troy Aikman and Steve Young and Warren Moon and Drew Bledsoe and Rob Johnson all came, and we started focusing on prevention, awareness, and cure. Is there a way to cure a brain? Your initial question was, is the protocol strong enough? No. It’s certainly better than what we had before, because now we have spotters in the press box and spotters on the side who are looking for impaired athletes. I had my last brain health summit earlier this year at the Arizona Super Bowl. We throw a huge party at the Super Bowl every year, and we give humanitarian awards to an owner, a general manager, who do philanthropic things.

We have a brain/body lounge showing off new technology and hyperbaric oxygen and stem cell and blue, white, and red light and NanoVi. But, the exciting thing is, we found a couple protocols that, actually, through neuroplasticity, can heal an impaired brain. Look, the problem is athletes are in a state of denial about their physical health. They’re taught from Pop Warner and Little League to ignore pain, that real men don’t sit out at a lineup, and they accept a level of pain and injury, and they’re not thinking long-term about their long-term health. This is called denial, which is, the athlete simply puts it out of their mind. So, you can have a rational client who gets a concussion, you call them up on the phone and say, “You shouldn’t play next week,” And they say, “Yeah, yeah, I hear you.” And, then they go ahead and play.

So, one of these processes is called rTMS and the other is NESTRE brain training in Lake Nona near Orlando. But, the point is, your students will have, in their life, a time of crisis, where whatever work they’re doing doesn’t seem to have a positive impact on the society. So, you’re working for a company that pours poison into water, or you’re working for a company that is fraudulent, then what do you do? Well, I think that in that situation, I was faced with two choices. I could stop representing players knowing that a lot of them are going to experience these problems, or I could hang in there and try to make it better, and that’s what I’ve chosen to do.

Jim Reese: Those aren’t a lot of options there, so I’m glad you went with that path. Britt, do we have anything else that you can share with Leigh?

Brittany Jacobs: We do. So, we have a question from Keith Miller, and he wants to know: What’s it like being an agent in the green room as people are waiting to be picked?

Leigh Steinberg: So, draft time—used to be 15, now 10, minutes in between the picks, like in the first round—is not real time. Every second seems like a minute. Every minute seems like an hour. And in that green room, the ESPN cameras are going around and the NFL network cameras are going, around so you’re under these hot lights, and it becomes difficult. They did a segment on Ben Roethlisberger’s draft in 2004, and I knew that the New York giants were in love with Eli Manning and the then San Diego Chargers were in love with Philip Rivers, so it was unlikely to me that anything would happen other than a trade where San Diego would take Manning, but they’d trade him to New York, and get the guy they wanted, which is Philip Rivers. But, neither of them was Ben. Well, the night before the draft, Tom Coughlin, the coach of the Giants, calls up Terry Hebner, Ben’s coach at Miami, Ohio and says, “If it comes up on the fourth pick and we haven’t made the trade, then we’re taking you, Ben.”

Oh my God. I know there’s no way this is going to happen. Somehow, at the last minute, they’ll work out a trade because it just makes too much sense, but I’m not Tom Coughlin, I’m not the coach and as many times as I tell Ben, what can you do? So, you’re sitting there, and the fourth pick comes up, and the Chargers have taken Manning, and now I’m guessing that New York will take Philip Rivers. But, in that room, there’s the expectation that New York’s going to pick Ben. So, at that point, it was 15 minutes, 14 minutes and 50 seconds go by, drip, drip, drip, water torture, drip, drip, drip, and then, all of a sudden, at the very last second, they announce a trade’s been made and the balloon gets punctured, and all the air comes out.

Jim Reese: Man, I tell you that is a great story, because Keith is a Steelers fan. He is. So yes, that’s an outstanding story. This is the real world experience that we like to take into the classroom, from our personal experience as well. Without going into any specifics, you’ve had some challenges, and we all face challenges, some are more than others, but the question is, there’s that old quote from the Rocky Balboa movie about getting up and moving forward. When you were at your lowest point, what kept you going?

Leigh Steinberg: So, we’re all going to get pushed back in life and have reverses. I struggled with alcohol about 15 years ago, and what saved me is the concept of resilience and proportionality. So, I’m sitting there and I’m struggling with alcohol, and I look at it, and I think, “I’m not a starving peasant in the South Sudan who’s facing a civil war; I’m not sitting under the bomb path in the Ukraine; my last name’s not Steinberg in Nazi Germany in the late thirties. I don’t have cancer. I’m not sick.” So, proportionality will tell you that your problems, although they seem overwhelming, pale in terms of people that have cancer and die and are in wars and all the rest of it. That’s the first thing. The second is a sense of optimism, a belief that, notwithstanding the destruction and detritus surrounding you at that moment, you can visualize a better result and a better world out there, and instead of focusing on that result, you just take the steps necessary to get you back.

So, when you deal with substance abuse, there are 12 step programs with unique fellowships that can help you. I had a long run before that, with 64 first-round draft picks, and the first pick in the NFL draft eight different years, the first pick overall. Twelve players in Hall of Fame, half the starting quarterbacks, we had 60 baseball players, basketball, boxing, and all the way along, our players were raising over a billion dollars for charity and community. So, what you realize is, I can’t do that work as long as I’m struggling with alcohol. And what were my dad’s two core values? Treasure relationships. So, what kind of father am I? What kind of son am I? What kind of brother am I? What kind of friend am I?

And, am I there for my friends in difficult times? When it costs you something to be a friend, when it’s not convenient to be their friend? And then, have I made a difference in the world? So, look, when we had Lennox Lewis as a client, the heavyweight boxer, we cut a public service announcement that says, “Real men don’t hit women.” And, because it’s a big macho guy, he’s able to permeate the perceptual screen that young rebellious adolescents put up against authority figures and who won’t listen to their parents or to a teacher or policemen. But, that message about domestic violence gets through. Or Oscar De La Hoya and Steve Young: “Prejudice is foul play.” So, we use the symbols of popular culture to try to trigger positive behavior. You can take an issue like bullying, and if you could get the high school athletes to be the purveyors of tolerance, you can change the culture of that high school real fast.

Jim Reese: Wow, that’s an excellent point. I can relate to the proportionality myself with some things I’m going through. I didn’t have a word for it though, so now I have a word for what I’ve been doing to keep myself going, so thank you for that. So, I’ll be sharing that with a lot of folks. Britt, are there any more questions? Maybe some of the content questions that…

Brittany Jacobs: Definitely. So one of the things that we are really interested in is there’s this idea of virtual season tickets coming up, and we’re seeing a lot of people really excited about that. Can you talk to us and how that may or may not play into your role?

Leigh Steinberg: Our whole orientation now is fan experience. Can you give fans a unique experience? How many different things can you do with the stadium to involve people? So, I think the idea you’re proposing is brilliant, and I think that its time has come, because fans want to get closer and closer.

I mean, we have new football leagues played in Las Vegas where the fans can put some money in and make general manager decisions and starting decisions. We have all of those different things. My plans on health and wellness, which I’ve taken to NFL teams, is to say, “Look, when you get to a critical situation in a game, can we find a way to elevate athletic performance in those critical situations, to get more productivity? Second of all, can we bring players back to service quicker?” Because, under a cap system, if you have a starter who’s really gifted, below him is someone who may be an un-drafted free agent, so it destroys your playoff rules. So, I found hyperbaric oxygen, stem cell, NanoVi, red, white, and blue light—

these are all biomed breakthroughs. If you’re going to represent athletes, you need to have side projects that can help sustain what you do. We created something, years ago, called Athlete Direct. So, this was in the seminal days that your students won’t remember, back in 2000, where you needed to get onto AOL to get online. So we signed Michael Jordan, who was the top basketball player, Ken Griffey Jr, who was a top baseball player, and the football quarterbacks, and put them all on a website, and fans could do chats, and they would share a weekly diary. And, they would share about their charitable foundations, and I designed an e-commerce application, where you could buy directly from them. And, we probably put $150,000 in R&D into this project, and we sold part of our share three or four years later for $25 million. So, there are entrepreneurial opportunities for your students to create a new app, a new sport, a new concept.

If I was starting all over again, I might just work on a startup which will, at the end, have a liquidity event, meaning it’ll go public or something will happen.

Brittany Jacobs: That’s excellent. Thank you. I love that entrepreneurial spirit. Many of our students definitely want to start their own sport businesses, so that’s perfect.

Leigh Steinberg: Find a niche that’s unexplored, a different way to relate to the sport, a different app, a different website, a different system. Figure out how to take an unexplored niche in professional sports or collegiate sports, and figure out some breakthrough or innovation that no one’s tried yet.

Brittany Jacobs: That’s excellent. Jim, I’ve got one more if you’re okay with me jumping in. So Leigh, you’re talking a lot about apps and students being entrepreneurial in that way, how do you think that AI is going to impact the sport industry moving forward?

Leigh Steinberg: Well, I think this will be one of the last areas for AI to hit. I mean, one of the ways it could make a difference is, franchises that win in sports win because they have stable ownership with a vision. They have front offices that master all the skills of drafting, salary caps better than anyone else, and they have a coach with a system. I could see AI making a major difference in how we assess talent, how we scout players, what decisions we make in terms of who to draft, who to keep on the roster, what kind of offense to run, or defense to run, and I could see it taking the place of analytics or becoming the new analytical tool. Because, does the baseball hitter who waits out every pitch do better than the one who swings at the first strike? Are you better off drafting a college player in baseball or a high school player?

If you have artificial intelligence, remember, it’s got no emotion in it. I could use an AI system for figuring out which client’s going to make it or which isn’t, because there are all sorts of psychological tests and things that can be done that show you that.

Jim Reese: Leigh, this next question is one that we have really lively discussions about in our classes, and that is a contract negotiation. And so, everyone knows you have to be willing to walk away to get the best deal, but then you’ve got holdouts, and you’ve got some people saying, “Well, listen, you signed a contract, you need to honor it.” Then you have other people saying, “Well, no, I want to hold out for more money.” What is it like to be in that world? It must be painstaking to be doing that.

Leigh Steinberg: So, everyone thinks that representation’s about persuasion and talking, but the real skill that you need to master is listening. And, you need to figure out, both with your client and with the executive, how do they value short-term economic gain, long-term economic security, geographical location, family issues, profile for an athlete, being a starter, being on a winning team, the quality coaching, and the rest of it. If you can cut below the surface and draw out another person, so that you understand their deepest anxieties and fears, and their greatest hopes and dreams, if you can put yourself in the other person’s heart and mind and see the world the way they see it, then you can negotiate, recruit, you can do every skill, but it comes with not simply accepting surface responses. So, in a negotiation, you have to look at the world as the general manager or owner would look at it, and understand what the pressures are in them, and figure out if you can craft a win-win situation.

What we cannot afford in sports is deadlock, because we have players with short playing careers. So, when you get a deadlock, you have two parties—each of them think they’re in good faith, the other party isn’t. And what happens is, if you allow it to be personalized, where tough words start flowing back and forth, people lock in. One of my pieces of advice is, don’t push the losing argument to the end. If you’re not making any progress on something, stop, take a break, walk around. I wrote a book called “Winning With Integrity.” That’s the 12 steps of negotiating, and the key is to establish a paradigm of cooperation. Once that gets broken, when you think things can’t get any worse, they can. Young men can turn old, fall can turn to winter, and the deadlock’s still there.

So, you have to do everything to prevent that, because I can’t. And, on your specific issue, let’s delineate between an athlete who’s on a contract, or an athlete, like was the case with Saquon Barkley, who was franchised but hadn’t signed the franchise. He could hold out without any big consequences. A player on contract is going to get fined $40,000 a day, and ultimately, there are all sorts of draconian rules that will operate against that player. The right way to do that is behind the scenes. It’s not to allow this conflict to become public. Lamar Jackson needed to quietly, behind the scenes, motivate the contract he wanted. Instead, it broke out and something unimaginable—unintended consequences occur, where, all of a sudden, they’re talking about Lamar Jackson not being… Well, Lamar Jackson is one of maybe six or seven franchised quarterbacks in football and Baltimore can’t play without them. So, don’t let it become public and impacted where pride and ego get involved.

If you’re negotiating for a player, it’s not about you. It’s about the player. It’s not about your feelings being hurt, it’s not, “You can’t talk that way to me,” It’s not, “If I don’t get exactly what I want…” But you start with listening skills, you start with understanding who is that person and what do they need out of this situation to feel whole?

Jim Reese: Leigh, I can definitely see how you became the basis for a movie with that answer. That was really impressive, really impressive. Britt, I think we’ve got time for maybe one more question from you and one from me and then we need to wrap it up soon. So do you have anything that you’d like to ask Leigh?

Brittany Jacobs: I do. So Leigh, can you tell me what is your best advice for students that are interested in getting into agency as a career?

Leigh Steinberg: First of all, study psychology. If you can understand what motivates other people to act the way they do, at the end of the day, psychology is a study which will help interaction with people. And everything, at the end of the day, is about people relating somehow to each other, whether you’re recruiting, negotiating, whether you’re creating. So, study psychology. Start to brand yourself, which you can do when you’re in school. Put your own website together, express an opinion. Now, remember, you can be an agent, but you can also work for a team, a league, a conference, an athletic department, sports marketing, sports analytics, sports facilities, management, press, television, radio—I mean, there’s a massive amount of jobs. So, figure out if agency’s right, or if there’s something else that you might want to do. It’s a hyper competitive field, and the odds of making it are not high.

Having said that, that doesn’t mean you won’t make it, that doesn’t mean you can’t break in, it just is a realistic look at the fact that I’ve spoken on 85 college campuses, and the students overwhelmingly want to either be involved in high tech or a hedge fund, or they want to be in sports and entertainment. So, it’s hyper competitive, but, start to brand yourself. Express opinions on issues in sports. Maybe it’s tax or immigration or something, but just have a point of view on any of the topics we talked about today, and start to express it. The next thing is to network. So, you need to get onto LinkedIn and get onto a forum like that and hit every single person. You’ve got every general manager, every owner, every press person, they’re all on there, and the worst thing that could happen to you is they won’t accept you.

I once met a fellow that I thought was the greatest salesman I’d ever met, and I asked him, “What’s your secret?” And he said, “I don’t fear rejection.” So, it doesn’t matter if you send out 200 things and 10 people respond, those are 10 people that you now have as friends. Remember this, people that are older than you will want to mentor you. People younger than you will look up to you. It’s your own peer group that’s your competition. So, you can find mentors everywhere, and people will be happy to help you, give you advice, hopes and dreams, and all the rest of it.

Jim Reese: That really is excellent because one of the things that, and I don’t want to speak for Britt, but I think that she’ll agree with this, and that is that one of the themes that has come through in every podcast is the importance of building long-term relationships. It’s what everything is based on. And so, it was great to hear you say that, because we can’t say it enough in the classroom, but it’s when people like you reinforce it that maybe they’ll start to take it a little more serious.

Brittany Jacobs: It’s the proactivity outside of the classroom as well, doing those things like getting on LinkedIn, building your website, doing all of those extras that really can be so impactful.

Leigh Steinberg: I’ll just give you one example. When I went to Cal, and they would bring speakers onto campus, I went and volunteered to pick those speakers up at the airport and met Senator Bobby Kennedy, met great writers, met all sorts of people. No one is going to tell you and anoint you and tell you your time has come. They’re not going to put a sword on your shoulder and tell you you’re knighted and it’s time. This is all about your own individual passion and desire and initiative. So, the fact that other students aren’t doing some of these things to advance their future—take advantage of that, and keep reaching out, and keep bonding with people. You’d be surprised. I mean, I’ve given about 4,000 speeches and every time you’re out at an event, you’ll meet people.

Well, spend 10 minutes talking to them, ask them for their card, and take the card home from the little banquet you just went to or the event, and write on the back of it, “Well, it was a middle aged man with a boil on his nose who was talking about plastics,” Right? Something that will remind you, but become an A+ networker.

Jim Reese: Now, I have to tell a story, and I’m sorry, this is what professors do. But, I’m sure you know Andy Dolich. Andy and I, we were at dinner in Memphis, this was when he was with the Grizzlies, and he was telling me that he was amazed, because he would go in—because he was an empty nester at the time—he would go into the office every Saturday morning from about seven to noon, get caught up on things, and then go home. And, he was amazed at the lack of people that would come in and take advantage of that opportunity to spend time with him. And so, what you’re saying is exactly what he was saying, the same thing, but from the standpoint of: people should have been taking advantage of that opportunity and didn’t. Because, I mean, how often do you get to spend time with the president of the Memphis Grizzlies? So, anyway, he’s saying the same thing, and I’ll never forget that story. All right, last question. What is next for Leigh Steinberg?

Leigh Steinberg: Well, the big goals are, can I do anything through the work with athletes to deal with domestic violence, sex trafficking, racism, the environment, bullying, and all those different issues? And I think the top issue right now is the environment and the fact that earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, on and on, and I think if I was your students’ age, that would be the thing that would most impact my future. I’m working on another book, which will be my third one, which is tentatively titled To Comeback. We hold Agent Academies, so we’ll explain how to negotiate, how to recruit, how to do damage control, how to do it. If you go to steinbergspeaks.com, you can do it. So, I do about two or three of these a year. We’ve done about 30 or 40, so it’s bringing the next group along. As I said, I’m working on the health/wellness concept.

I continue to co-agent people like Patrick Mahomes. So, it’s writing, speaking, I’ll probably do another podcast or a radio show, but it’s all around trying to make a difference, which I can do by enhancing young people’s lives, and by making sure that we’re doing programs. I’ve got in mind an anti-racism program that would push back on the skinheads and hate groups that are all over social media. And, I did a training program years ago where we trained 8,000 people in the 30 biggest cities across the country to aid local police departments, help in crisis situations, and go into school systems to promote the richness of people’s heritage and not have them be scared of each other, so probably put another one of those together.

Jim Reese: So that’s a pretty full agenda. That’s some good… Well, listen, Britt, anything else for Leigh before we wrap things up and talk about how folks can watch this and connect with us on social media? Anything else?

Brittany Jacobs: I don’t think so. Leigh, I just want to thank you so much for taking the time with us. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it, and I’m sure our students will appreciate it as well.

Leigh Steinberg: I’m happy to do it.

Jim Reese: Ditto. Absolutely. We’re very grateful for that. Britt, you want to wrap us up?

Brittany Jacobs: Yes, absolutely. So Leigh, thank you again. And for all of our folks out there listening, make sure that you’re connecting with us on LinkedIn and that’s AMU & APU Sports Management and then on Instagram as well. If you have any questions, always reach out to myself, Dr. Brittany Jacobs, or Dr. Jim Reese here. We are more than happy to help you.

Jim Reese: Leigh, thank you so much for your words of wisdom today. I’m sure that our students will really benefit from that and take it to heart.

Brittany Jacobs: Bye Leigh. Thank you.

Leigh Steinberg: Oh, you’re welcome.

Jim Reese: We’ve got another exciting podcast coming up, it’s in the next few weeks. We’re going to be with sports executive, Andy Dolich, who was the president of the San Francisco 49ers and president of the Memphis Grizzlies to name a few. And, so, we’re really looking forward to spending some time with Andy. Thanks again for being with us. We appreciate your support. And this is Dr. Reese, on behalf of Dr. Brittany Jacobs, saying goodnight.

Brittany Jacobs

Dr. Brittany Jacobs is an Associate Professor and Department Chair for the Sports Management and Esports program at the University. She is highly involved in the Olympic & Paralympic movements and worked for USA Rugby before returning to academia. Much of her current research centers around officials and other marginalized populations providing a direct connection to her previous coaching and officiating experiences. Brittany earned her Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in Sports & Exercise Science with a Doctoral Minor in Statistics. She also holds a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Texas, a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. in kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire, where she also played collegiate field hockey.

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