Sports Agent Blake Baratz's Family Business

This guest post was written by Sabes JCC staff.
Have you ever wondered what happens to NFL players after their careers are over, usually by the incredibly young age of 28? What about the roughly 59% of players without a college degree? Does that hurt their post-football job prospects? Within two years of retirement, 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or in severe financial distress. It doesn’t help matters that nine out of 10 pro football players suffer a major injury or head trauma at some point in their career. Is the instant fame and fortune that comes with playing in the NFL worth the long-term effects on their health?
Shockingly, the life of a professional football player has all of the same highs and lows, struggles and trade-offs as most careers, maybe more. Given the fact that many young and talented athletes come to game totally unprepared for how to handle the pressures, the damage to their bodies, the public scrutiny, and even the allure of instant cash, a growing number of NFL players are turning to sports agent Blake Baratz, President of the Institute for Athletes, for the full service management his firm offers.
Blake Baratz - 1Based in Minneapolis, the Institute for Athletes nurtures college players as they attempt to make it into the NFL draft, and manages and mentors pro players already in the league. With over 30 clients, Blake is considered one of the top 15 agents in the business, which is quite a feat considering that he isn’t much older than most of the athletes under his management.
According to their website, IFA brands itself as a family, handling both on-field and off-field issues with much the same type of counseling and wisdom you might receive from a loved one. IFA has built their client list almost exclusively through referrals from other clients, which seems almost too good to be true in this age of super agents like Scott Boras or Drew Rosenhaus. But while he won’t ever be confused with  Jerry MaguireBaratz seems genuinely driven to give the best help, in all aspects of life, to the athletes he represents. Maybe it comes from all those Jewish values he was taught as a kid!
If you’re curious to learn more, Blake will share his unique perspective on sports management at the community dinner following a day of golf at the Sabes JCC’s Machers Golf and Games Event on Monday, August 12 at Oakridge Country Club in Hopkins. 
Speaking on the topic of  “Business of Sports,” Blake will discuss how he and his partners, Joey Hartman and former NFL Linebacker Barry Gardner, assembled a 12-person executive team that provides clients with guidance on a multitude of life skills that help them to succeed and maximize their potential on and off the playing field. Blake has identified education and professionalism as two ideals that define The Institute for Athletes and his commitment to his clients and their families has earned him the reputation as one of the best, young representatives in the business.
In addition to his keynote address, Blake will be joined by professional football players at the dinner. Also attending will be Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, best selling author of books including: The World is Flat, From Beirut to Jerusalem, and That Used to Be Us. Come hear Blake’s insider perspective and meet Tom Friedman all in one night!
Cocktails start at 5:00 PM and dinner and presentation starts at 6:00 PM. The event is open to the public and proceeds raised from the dinner will benefit scholarship programs at the Sabes JCC.
For more information go to  or contact Raleigh Wolpert at [email protected]Enjoy a special TCJewfolk reader’s price for those under 40 of $50 (regular price is $75).  A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible and supports scholarships at the Sabes JCC.