My sophomore season at Vanderbilt was much different than my freshman year experience. After a successful sophomore season in the Southeastern Conference, random people started calling me wanting to represent me. I can remember thinking it all seemed shady, but I took the meetings anyway. I always told people to meet me at PF Chang’s right below campus. Hard to pass on a free meal.
There was one meeting I accepted that took me completely off guard. A coach from the university called me and told me he had a good friend who wanted to meet me. I agreed to the meeting not sure what it was about. I had never had an experience with a coach contacting me about anything other than football plays. I met up with the coach, and we walked into a building I had only previously seen in passing. We walked into a dark hallway, but I could see bright lights at the end of the hallway. We finally made it to the well-lit room, where there was a man sitting at a wooden desk He was very much out of shape and had a heavy northern accent.
When the man began to talk, I immediately realized what was going on. I was kind of upset because we could have done this at PF Chang’s. The guy seemed to be a little more nervous than the other people with whom I had previously met. He explained where he worked and what his agency could do for my career after I completed my junior season. I nodded and smiled while he spoke. As the meeting was ending, I started to leave when the northern accent said one more thing.
His nervous nature had completely disappeared, and now I was the one on pins and needles. He looked at me and said, “What will it take for you to sign with us?” I let him know it wasn’t anything specific. I said, “I will choose people who I’m most comfortable around,” and that I would weigh my options, etc., etc. He looked me in the eye and said, “What will it take?” I paused the second time, unsure what response he wanted from me. After an awkward silence, he stated, “I will buy your mom a house if you sign with my agency.” I replied, “So I sign with you and my mom gets a house no strings attached.” He nodded his confirmation.
I was currently sending all the money I got from my Pell grant home to my mom to help pay bills and I hear from this guys that I can get her a house just like that. I left the room and told him I would think about it. I truly went back and forth for about a week thinking over his offer. I reluctantly turned him down and signed with a different agency. After my junior season was over and I started to train, I began hearing tons of similar stories. The offers ranged from cars to cash payouts. There weren’t too many who made the dumb decision I did, but I feel I did the right thing.
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