It took about four years of this “internship” in the world of representation in professional football before the idea finally hit Scott: Put his skills together with those of Shawn, and it could be a good match.
In 2004, XAM Sports (their oldest son’s name is Max) was founded.
Scott, 41, and Shawn — and partner Jason Bernstein — now represent 25 players active on NFL rosters. Their shining star recently has been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Robert Blanton, a former cornerback from Notre Dame who is with Minnesota, is also in the XAM stable.
Like a good parent, Scott is quick to say he doesn’t favor one client over another.
“But having a Super Bowl quarterback doesn’t hurt,” he admitted.
Scott skipped attending the Super Bowl in New Orleans, instead watching the game at home in Madison, Wis., with sons Max, 10, and Manny, 5. Shawn and Bernstein were there shepherding the non-team activities for Kaepernick, while also getting five other clients, who weren’t involved in the game, to other Super Bowl functions.
“The best part of this business is seeing our clients overcome obstacles and achieve success by working hard and maintaining their work ethic,” Scott said. “It’s been rewarding to see our agency become successful and relevant, considering we started a different way.”
And the worst part of the business?
“Recruiting is a grind,” he said. “We’ve developed a system where we can identify the athletes we’re interested in.”
Smith said more than 100 agents made their sales pitch to Kaepernick. Typically, Scott or Bernstein will contact about 10 draft-eligible athletes every year. A normal signing class is four or five.
“Being a smaller agency, we can back up the values we have,” Scott said. “We’re based on communication, relationships, responsibility and honesty. We’re looking for quality guys; good character.
“It takes a while. You have to have the trust of your client, but you also have to have the trust of the NFL people you deal with — general managers, pro personnel guys. You have to know the intricacies of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (that impacts NFL contracts).”
Post-Super Bowl, pre-Combine is the fun time. Shawn accompanied Kaepernick to a photo shoot and got to attend a pre-Grammy Awards party, rubbing elbows with celebrities.
“It’s a tough, competitive business,” Scott said. “The relationships are so important to us. We don’t ever want to lose that.”
That’s a pretty solid philosophy.
Maybe that Wabash degree paid off after all.