By now, everyone should be familiar with the agent issue in college football and how it has affected some big name programs in college football. Alabama and Florida are two of the biggest named programs that have had agent issues this offseason.
Alabama’s Marcell Dareus is being investigated by the NCAA to see if he received any improper benefits when he went to Miami to an agent’s party over the summer. According to Dareus, the flight to Miami was paid for by his friend Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle from North Carolina, but he paid him back upon his arrival to South Beach.
Dareus is handcuffed by the NCAA right now and is season could be in jeopardy if it is found that he did take improper benefits. Alabama is awaiting the ruling from the NCAA as to what Dareus’ 2010 eligibility will be.
This whole mess seems to go back to North Carolina and Marvin Austin who seems to be the key guy in all of this. If any player is suspended for the entire 2010 season, then it will be him.
Florida is being investigated on whether their former star offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey received money from an agent prior to the Sugar Bowl. If that turns out to be true, then Florida would have played an ineligible player against Cincinnati and they would have to forfeit that game.
Nick Saban has been the most outspoken coach against rogue agents in college football and he organized a conference call with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA president Kevin Mawae. Saban got some of the biggest named coaches in college football to participate in the conference call as well.
Saban described them as the coaches he had “a tremendous amount of respect for.”
Florida’s Urban Meyer, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, and Texas’ Mack Brown all participated in the call along with some athletic directors and agents.
Saban had this to say about the call:
”We’re all trying to put our heads together to figure out what we can do to level the playing field so that everybody that’s in the agent community — which some of them are very professional — have the same opportunity to recruit players and that the bootleggers out there are guys that get punished and penalized, and that the players that deal with them are going to have some of the same consequences.”
The agent issue has grabbed most of the headlines around the college football world this summer. Instead of the headlines focusing mainly about the upcoming season, it’s been all about the agent issue and its effect on college football right now.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that something needs to happen to prevent players from losing their eligibility, but what that will be is the real question. [pullquote]Alabama head coach Nick Saban has closed his practices from NFL scouts for the time being, but has stated that he will reopen his practice after August 25th. He has also stated that the closing of practice has nothing to do with agents, but more to protect his players from unfair evaluation during this run of sweltering heat.[/pullquote]
This isn’t a problem that will ever be completely fixed, but by giving penalties to those crooked agents that don’t mind putting college players at risk, it should decrease the amount of this happening.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has closed his practices from NFL scouts for the time being, but has stated that he will reopen his practice after August 25th. He has also stated that the closing of practice has nothing to do with agents, but more to protect his players from unfair evaluation during this run of sweltering heat.
The other college coaches came away from the meeting optimistic. They all are confident with their education process of letting the players know exactly what they are dealing with when it comes to agents, but they agree that something within the rules needs to be done to help make it easier to manage agents in college football.
Urban Meyer had this to say after the meeting:
“The good thing is the other side of it wants to help, and when I say that, I mean they really want to help. So there’s going to be some positive things come out of this. I think real positive.”
It was popular opinion that the opening discussion went well and that everyone believes something can be done. All the coaches have concerns about crooked agents and they want to see some sort of resolution.
It seems in the very least that the NFL and college coaches seem to be on the same page. An NFLPA spokesperson stated that they would like to discipline agents if they are found to have any wrongdoing in the matter.
It’s not fair that only college athletes are penalized in these types of situations and I think everyone agrees with that. An agent should be held just as responsible for his role in the matter as the player and should be given some sort of punishment as well or what is to stop him from doing the same thing again?
It’s about time that someone took a stand against rogue agents in college football and make them take responsibility for their actions as well. While it is certainly the player’s responsibility to avoid these kind of agents, the agent as well is at fault when something like this happens.
No matter what happens, you will always have someone who sidesteps the rules and takes chances regardless of the penalty.
But, this was a good opening discussion of many to come by those involved in the conference call. Just like the coaches, I am optimistic that some sort of change is in order to penalize agents in the wrong as well as the players.