NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 30: DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, speaks during an NFLPA press conference prior to Super Bowl XLVIII on January 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

As the NFLPA urges players to prepare for a potential work
stoppage after next season, it’s brought in the big guns to help manage players’
money for next season and the years after their playing careers end. The move
is intriguing for several reasons. Foremost, the two firms, Goldman Sachs and
Bessemer Trust, will be much different than existing financial advisors
registered with the NFLPA in that they are not just one individual financial
advisor. Now, an entire financial institution can register with the NFLPA and monitor
its employees who are involved in the management of players’ earnings. This dynamic
adds a layer of protection and security for NFL players, whose money would be repaid
by the advising firm in an investment in which fraudulent activity played a

The move is also a significant signal from the NFLPA that a
lockout is very possible, even though talks have already begun between the
league and the players association in hopes of preventing that very situation.
If the two sides do come to an agreement, the addition of Goldman and Bessemer will
be advantageous for another reason, according to Dana Shuler, the NFLPA’s director
of player affairs. “I’d like to think about a work stoppage for players . . .
(as) really a fire drill for when the paychecks really do come to an end.” Retirement
planning, or the lack thereof, has been a well-documented issue for professional
athletes across all sports, and Mrs. Shuler is hoping that players will become
more aware that they won’t play forever and need to begin planning financially
for when that day comes.

The NFLPA created the financial advisors program in 2002 and
have about 165 money managers in the network. About half of the players are enrolled
in the voluntary program, which requires Certified Financial Planners and
Chartered Financial Analysts to have at least 8 years of licensed work experience.

The program hasn’t exactly kept all money managers from deceiving
players out of millions of dollars, however. Former NFL financial advisor Jeff
Rubin misguided several NFL players to invest in a bingo resort in Alabama. The
state shortly thereafter outlawed the exact electronic bingo gaming machines
the resort operated, resulting in total losses of over $43 million.

Many lawyers and NFLPA officials believe adding reputable
financial institutions to the network of money managers accessible by players
is a step in the right direction, as it provides opportunity for potential losses
to be recouped if an investment go awry. For example, if Rubin had been
employed by Goldman Sachs at the time, the firm would’ve been on the hook for
the $43 million, not the players. And if we know anything about Goldman Sachs
and its long and successful history, it will be sure not to find itself on the
wrong end of a million-dollar investment.

The NFLPA has reportedly interviewed additional institutions
to join the network of financial advisors on an invite-only basis, as the NFL is
only willing to work with elite institutions whose reputations have already
been demonstrated in the financial advisory industry.   

Source: Sports Agency Blog