agent orangeJuly 21, 2010
Something has to give in college football it seems every day, student athletes in major programs are committing rules violations relating to “extra benefits”. Maurkice Pouncey, former star offensive lineman at the University of Florida is under investigation this week for allegedly taking 100,000 dollars from an agent prior to the Sugar Bowl this past year. Furthermore, the Reggie Bush scandal has left USC in shambles after having to return Bush’s Heisman Trophy and losing longtime athletic director Mike Garrett. For USC, the worst of all a crippling probation levied against the school is that it will most assuredly remove the Trojans from the ranks of college football elite for some time.
Also today, it was revealed that agents may have provided transportation, lodging, food and other expenses for some of the elite players in college football for a party in South Beach Miami. North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin, South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders and Alabama defensive tackle Marcel Dareus are all reported to have attended the party. What is crazy is that Austin may have ended his career at UNC early by tweeting about the experience and basically broadcasted his wrongdoing to the world. It is rumored that UNC may be shaken to the core regarding this party as, wide receiver Greg Little, safety Deunta Williams, cornerback Kendric Burney and linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant may have attended or received extra benefits as well. It remains unclear if the other UNC players attended the party or are just under investigation or were simply being questioned regarding alleged violations regarding Austin. The National Football Post is reporting that Austin will indeed be suspended for the year.
It seems that if the NCAA continues to punish amateur athletes (see Dez Bryant) for their involvement with agents or receiving extra benefits. In my opinion, the NCAA should step up to the plate and hold agents as well as athletes responsible for their actions that not only hurt the athletes prospects for the future but directly affect not only their current team but in some cases future teams at the institution, ask USC about this. I think that if the NCAA is going to punish athletes and remove their amateur status they should cut the problem off at the neck and punish agents as well. Have you ever seen an episode of National Geographic where the Elephants are being chastised for being poached for their ivory? The answer to this question is a firm no. College athletes with bright futures in the NFL are bright targets for the sleazy underworld that sports agents inhabit. Until some responsibility is required of the agents then these types of stories are going to be a regular occurrence. I think that every student athlete involved understands what they are risking when they take these types of chances involving extra benefits. You have to maintain some type of accountability for the student athlete, but in all honesty if you have never had something and somebody ….. anybody offers you a substantial amount of money would it not be hard to take it? Several options could be set up to reduce these types of happenings in sports because it looks like a promising UNC team will now be decimated because of the decisions of a few that will affect the whole football team in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Here are some theoretical solutions to the problem, keep in mind they would all be instituted separately or possibly in conjuction with each other.
Options for Change:
1. Suspend agents caught giving money to student athletes from their profession for two years and when they return they must pay any amount given to a student athlete to a fund which helps NCAA reduce “extra benefits” problems as such.
2. NCAA sanctioned monies for prospective student athletes with NFL potential. This one is quirky but have the NCAA establish that after a players sophomore year of eligibility that a player may receive a predetermined amount of money that does not exceed 1/8 of an insurance policy totaling no more than 2 million dollars if a player has a presumed draft status of second round or higher. This one will be tough but will at least regulate this issue if players can “legally” access future earnings from the NFL without losing eligibility.
3. If a player is caught receiving monies from an agent they should have to repay the sum of these monies plus ten points to a continuing education fund at the institution for athletes to finish their degrees after their playing days are over. No eligibility will be lost but monies are due when the player reaches the NFL. If the player does not then they would owe what in essence would be “community service” educating future athletes what can happen if you interact with agents in an illegal manor.
4. Lastly, eliminate contact with Agents after the junior year of eligibility, this is only asking for problems. The NFL does not get to evaluate athletes until the combine why should agents get early access?
I hope that these young men are exonerated for the sake of their individual character, the livelihood of their prospective teams and alumni bases of the respective schools, as well as the fans that would love to see them perform this fall. I hate to see the NCAA “throw away” young men every year regarding this victimless crime. I think that agents should be persecuted at the highest levels and the reprimand of individual universities of the guilty party be minimized. For example, I really don’t think that current USC players who were in Jr. High when Reggie Bush was suiting up for the Trojans should suffer for the acts of somebody who screwed up 5 years ago. Most importantly the student athletes should take responsibility for their actions because at the moment the consequences are very steep. Just ask Tommy Heisman 05’ who is in the trash somewhere in L.A. as we speak. Lastly, it is TIME FOR THE NCAA STEP UP THE PLATE AND PROTECT THE AMETURE STATUS OF THE ATHLETES THAT PROVIDES ALL THE INCOME AND TAX BREAKS IT IS AFFORDED, its time to stop the finger pointing and take action.
MY TWO CENTS,