Friday, October 22, 2010


As if the National Collegiate Athletic Association does not have enough problems already.

Collegiate athletics has a growing problem in trying to shield its student-athletes from prematurely contacting with and accepting money from agents.

According to NCAA Bylaw 12.3: “A student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete’s ability or reputation.”

This summer that problem was enhanced as Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin headlined a list of players that the NCAA was investigating on those exact allegations.

As a result, 13 players did not play for North Carolina as they opened its season in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff against LSU, while down the road in Athens, Ga., Green served the first game of his four-game suspension as he was held out of the game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Now is this the first time this has ever happened?

Of course not.

The University of Southern California is currently serving a two-year bowl ban, along with a four-year probation and the loss of 30 scholarships thanks to Reggie Bush having improper contact with an agent.

Beginning in December 2004, Bush was contacted by Lloyd Lake, who at the time was planning to start his own agency called New Era Sports & Entertainment with business partner Michael Michaels. In the ensuing months, Bush and his family received many gifts ranging from stays at fancy hotels, a rent-free stay for his family at Michael’s house, and even a limousine ride for Bush to the Heisman presentation in 2005.

USC turned a blind eye to this by even allowing the agents in the locker rooms and on the sidelines.

USC was also hit hard on the hardwood, because of O.J. Mayo receiving benefits from Los Angeles event promoter Rodney Guillory and the Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management.

The Trojans placed a self-imposed ban for 2009-10 NCAA men’s basketball postseason, and further punished themselves by vacating all 21 wins from the 2007-08 season, Mayo’s only season at USC.

After all was said and done, men’s basketball coach Tim Floyd and football coach Pete Carroll resigned, while athletic director Mike Garrett was fired.

Now do I believe that student-athletes should be paid?

Yes, I do, but only by the school (not by boosters or agents) with a small stipend of around $1000 a semester. However, that is for a different story to be explained later.

Yet, taking money from agents is just plain wrong.

The money will always be there as long as the athlete plays well and works hard, so why sacrifice yourself and your team by breaking the rules?

Sure, I understand that if someone gives a person a large amount of money that they have never seen before in his or her life, chances are that that person will take the money without thinking twice.

Look at Southern Methodist in the mid-1980s.

The Mustangs were good on the field with players such as Eric Dickerson and Craig James making up the “Pony Express”, but off the field the team ran a dirty program by paying players through boosters.

In matter of fact, SMU was placed on probation five times since 1975, was banned from bowl games in 1985 and 1986, and could not play on television in 1986, but that still did not deter the program from paying players.

The NCAA was left with no choice but to do something that no football team had ever faced: The Death Penalty.

The NCAA canceled SMU’s 1987 season, took away its home games in 1988 (the school effectively canceled that season as well) and took away 55 scholarships for the next four years.

To add insult to injury, SMU could not play in a bowl game or on television in 1989, its probation was extended to 1990, and they could not recruit off campus until August 1988.

As a result, SMU did not record a winning season until 1997 and did not appear in a bowl game until the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, while most importantly, this signified the beginning of the end for the Southwest Conference.

While another major infraction like this will likely never happen in football again, unless a program really goes in blatant disregard to the rules, an athlete must really think twice before taking money and having illegal contact with agents.

The visual memories cannot be replaced, but in the record books, all the achievements will be a figment of our imagination.

No comments:

Post a Comment