Representing the Professional Athlete

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Course Date: 16 September 2014 to 28 October 2014 (6 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

An immersive experience in the world of sports that will take students through the four stages of the professional athlete's career. Utilizing lectures, guest speakers and hypothetical walkthroughs, students will learn how the best sports agents manage each of these four stages.

Estimated Workload: 2-3 hours/week

Course Instructors

Peter Carfagna

Peter A. Carfagna serves as Distinguished Visiting Practitioner at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Peter is Chairman/CEO of Magis, LLC, a privately owned sports marketing, management and investment company, including family ownership of the Lake County Captains, Cleveland Indians Class A Affiliate. From 1994-2005, Peter served as Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel of International Management Group (IMG) and was Senior Partner at Jones Day LLP before that.

Peter graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College in 1975, having played Varsity Football 1972-1975. Peter was then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, graduating M.A. with Honours in Jurisprudence/Law in 1977.

Since being appointed by then-Dean Elena Kagan as the Covington Burling Distinguished Visitor in 2006, Peter has alternated teaching 3 Sports Law Courses at Harvard Law School, each of which has been published as a casebook: Representing the Professional Athlete (West 2009); Examining The Legal Evolution of America’s 3 ‘Major Leagues’ (2d. Ed. West 2011); and Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements (West 2010). He is Faculty Advisor to Harvard Law School's Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law and its Journal on Sports and Entertainment Law. He is also Faculty Supervisor of Harvard Law School's Sports Law Clinical Program, responsible for 10-12 sports law clinicals each school year with the NFL, MLB, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins, and IMG among others. Additionally, Peter has served as Executive in Residence at Cleveland Marshall College of Law from 2011 to the present.

Peter serves the Harvard Alumni Association as a Member of the Nominating Committee for the Harvard University Board of Overseers. He is a past elected Director of both the HAA Worldwide Executive Committee and the American Association of Rhodes Scholars. Peter currently serves on the Great Lakes Regional Selection Committee for the Rhodes Scholarship, as well as on the Board of the Sports Legacy Institute, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, and Home Team Marketing, LLC. Peter is a Founding Member of the Harvard Varsity Club.

Peter and his wife Rita, and their 4 adult children, reside in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

Course Description

This course will provide each student with the skills necessary to guide an athlete through the difficult decisions that can make or lose the athlete millions of dollars, and affect their public image and career. Walking through the four stages of an athlete's career, we will provide a broad scope of the landscape of amateur and professional sports so that you can avoid the pitfalls and traps that so many have fallen into in the past; not to mention, bringing you updates throughout the course regarding the rapidly changing sports world that we live in today. Analyzing the best practices in the management of the superstar athletes with whom Professor Carfagna and his expert guests have worked with, we will show you how to manage the career of any professional athlete who might seek your guidance at any stage of his or her professional career.


Why should I take this course?
If you want to have fun for six weeks learning how to be an agent.

Do I need to enjoy sports to take this course?
No, the course is set up for the sports beginner, enthusiast and all in between.

What resources will I need for this class?
For this course, you need an Internet connection with adequate bandwidth for watching videos. Also, it is recommended that you purchase Representing the Professional Athlete, the course's recommended textbook.

Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment electronically signed by the instructors. (Those students who enroll in the Signature Track will instead receive a Verified Certificate.)


Week One: NCAA Amateurism and Eligibility
A walkthrough of how a student-athlete can maintain his or her eligibility under the NCAA Bylaws, the ongoing legal challenges facing the NCAA and the perspectives of experts on both sides of the issues.

Week Two: Introduction to Agents and The Three U.S. Major Leagues CBAs
The duties and challenges that an agent faces; the "Rep K" that controls the player-agent relationship; and a comprehensive analysis of the collective bargaining agreements that govern the three major leagues--including how a professional athlete achieves free agency in each major league.

Week Three: Early Stages of Professionalism and Selecting an Agency
How the best high school baseball player in the U.S. in 2013, Clint Frazier, went about selecting his management team; the way Major League Baseball teams handle their minor leaguers; and what it takes for any of them to reach the Majors. In this Lesson, we will also study how an agent can build a mega agency from the ground up, and represent professional athletes through their progression to their peak earning years.

Week Four: Representing the Peak Professional Athlete
Protecting the publicity rights of athletes while monetizing and maximizing their brands through product endorsement and license agreements. Rebuilding the reputation of athletes who have damaged their brands. How a financial advisor can help a player manager their income streams to maintain their lifestyle post-retirement. Also, in that same context: did Lebron James make the right long-term branding decision by returning to Cleveland?

Week Five: Income Protection and Life After Retirement
Protecting an athlete's income through insurance polices; an analysis of the on-going concussion epidemic in contact sports; and how an athlete can best prepare for life after retirement.

Week Six: Life Cycle of Tennis and Gold Pros, the Longest Career Trajectory in Sports
An introduction to the world of golf and tennis athletes who have enjoyed longest careers in sports. An insider experts' look into how an athlete can diversify his or her brand. How an agent can protect their athlete in endorsement agreements through appropriately drafted suitability and morals clauses.


The course will last six weeks with each lesson lasting approximately 75 to 90 minutes. The weekly lessons will be divided into manageable videos that contain lecturing, guest interviews and play acting of hypothetical situations that summarize the materials. Each week, students will be asked to complete a multiple choice quiz and participate in the course forum by answering the "question of the week."

Suggested Reading

Representing the Professional Athlete, 2d (West Academic Casebook 2014) by Peter A. Carfagna.

Course Workload

2-3 hours/week

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