Pro Sports

You have been hired by nine big name professional athletes across several major sports (e.g.,
NBA, NFL, MLB, WNBA, …) as their sports agent. The reason these “big-time” athletes hired you
is because you have been informed on social issues in sport as they play out across many
domains, and thus you have a complete, wholistic understanding of how (big-time) sport in the
U.S. culminates in the professional ranks (i.e., the conveyer belt) – you understand the systems
that your athletes have come up through, and you are aware of the barriers and mechanisms of
control that have shaped their careers.
As the agent representative of the big-time athletes who have propelled you into the spotlight
(your athletes have a lot of influence, like a Lebron James, Deshaun Watson, or Elena Delle
Donne), the directive of your representation is to convince the commissioners of the major
professional sport leagues in the U.S. that it is not only in their best interest to a) re-design the
pipeline and treatment of current and future professional athletes, but that the commissioners
need to b) implement league policies that force owners to redistribute some of their vast
wealth into player development and services. Currently, pro franchise owners and league
decision-makers activate little investment in player development and services (such as
transition services), because there is limited/no financial incentive to change the status quo –
there is little incentive to fund players’ psycho-social development outside of performance
enhancement (Park, Lavallee, & Tod, 2013). Some argue that the current state of non-sport
services offered to college and pro athletes are largely performative.
Your statement to league commissioners, on behalf of your very powerful clients, should be
organized around:
• The issue:
o Provide an explanation of the conveyer belt phenomenon as illustrated through
the Holstein et al (2016) chapters. Include in your explanation what you have
learned about:
§ a) the power imbalances between athletes and decision makers at the
youth, college, and pro levels that shape the pipeline of experiences of
pro athletes (i.e., explain infantilization)
and
§ b) how those power imbalances culminate in the issues around athletes’
transition out of sport (i.e., explain anomie and other
transition/retirement issues).
o *The explanation you generate for this segment (parts a and b) of your paper
should be considered prompts 1 and 2, so your explanation of the conveyer belt
that starts in youth sports (the indoctrination) and extends through the
retirement of pro athletes (transition out of sport) should be about 600 words.
• The justification for investment:
o To justify (to the commissioners) a forced redistribution of owners’ wealth into
athlete development and services, provide an explanation of the tax and
structural benefits (i.e., monopolistic, monopsonistic, and cartel-like set up of
U.S. pro sport leagues) that owners enjoy. In other words, explain how owners
build their wealth around a pro franchise as a reason for why a portion of
franchise operating budgets need to be dedicated to extending services to the
athletes who generate the owners’ wealth. Your justification for redistributing
wealth should be about 300 words.
Your paper, in its totality, should explain the issues that compound across a pro athlete’s career
(about 600 words) and the justification for forcing owners to invest in player development and
services (about 300 words) to address those issues (the conveyer belt).

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