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  • The Business of Sports Agentsby Kenneth L. Shropshire Timothy Davis, and N. Jeremi Duru
  • Matt Klosterman
Shropshire, Kenneth L., Timothy Davis, and N. Jeremi Duru. The Business of Sports Agents. 3rded. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Pp. 272. Notes and index. $29.95, hb.

The latest edition of The Business of Sports Agentsoffers readers a look into the sometimes shady dealings of sports agents who represent athletes. The authors paint a vivid picture of the history of sports agents and industry issues through the modern era. Interesting and colorful examples illustrate points for those considering the agent's role in the inner workings of professional sport. The authors offer insider's skepticism and knowledge as they catalog ethical breaches and gray areas where unscrupulous agents have spent their time. Colorful and egregious examples of ethical and legal misdeeds point the primary focus of the book to American football. Considerable information about NCAA football and men's basketball, as well as professional basketball and baseball, encompass the book's [End Page 135]frame of reference for showcasing the sport agent. A few references to professional hockey as well as a new section on international sports, including European soccer, add relevance outside the big three American sports.

The Business of Sports Agentsbegins with an insiders' view of professional sport, the business of agents, and corruption within professional and collegiate sport. References within the text to relevant cases and legal statutes give helpful background for those interested in learning about legal nuances in this field. Ample treatment of noteworthy historical sports agents makes it easy for the casual reader to follow the careers of both notorious and celebrated sports agents. The notes and scholarship are consistently well done and provide background for those looking to continue research about sports agents.

Sections regarding college sport stray from the topic of sports agents with a historical appraisal that questions the foundations of collegiate amateurism. Skepticism of the collegiate system leads to a brief departure from the insider sources and legal foundations that characterize the rest of the book. However, the authors do retain the lens of the sports agent as they summarize problems within college sports, including abuses or challenges to enforcement of amateurism rules within the NCAA. The section ultimately highlights legal challenges to the NCAA system and summarizes possible solutions to those challenges.

New to the edition is a short but illuminating glimpse into the travails of international sport agents. The primary focus in this section is on basketball and baseball with additional context for examining soccer. Europeans seem to shift some unscrupulousness from the sport agent to the professional sports teams, as team management sometimes take advantage of the gaps between legal systems to deny payments to noncitizen agents and athletes. Japanese and Central American baseball issues are also highlighted. This is an interesting and worthwhile addition. One wishes for a bit more breadth as it does introduce the reader to great new subject matter.

This third edition of The Business of Sports Agentsis both readable and knowledgeable. Its history of the business of sports agents is a great introduction to those wanting to know more about the background and history of the field as well as its legal foundations and current dilemmas.

Matt Klosterman
North Central College


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pp. 135-136
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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