The NCAA is looking into the ways that agents interact with its student-athletes. There has been controversy this summer about athletes receiving illegal monies, houses, and other benefits.
A highly publicized agent party involving several football players, many from the SEC, was a major reason for the inquiry of the NCAA Amateurism Cabinet to launch their investigation on campuses across the country.
The University of Southern California was ordered to vacate wins due to the ineligibility of Reggie Bush. USC sent back their copy of Bush’s Heisman Trophy, and hired a new athletic director in hopes implementing a new atmosphere in their athletic department. Even the most trusted online sportsbooks have adjusted their NCAA football lines for the upcoming postseason that won’t feature the Trojans.
The goal of the investigation is to work out a way for agents to give advice to athletes without awarding benefits. The recent settlement between the NCAA and former Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver could be seen as the reason for the NCAA to finally look into the matter. Oliver was declared ineligible prior to the 2008 baseball postseason for his use of legal representation.
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Current NCAA rules permit athletes to be advised by agents, parents, or any legal guardian. Those representing student-athletes are not allowed to take part in the negotiation process. Oliver sued the NCAA for not allowing him to receive legal help, and a court ruled in his favor. That forced NCAA officials to make sure they are not treating athletes unfairly.
Baylor law professor Mike Rogers, who is the chair of the Amateurism Cabinet, told reporters that he is concerned only with getting the right information they need to make a decision. Rogers does not care about the effect his actions might have on NCAA football odds.
“This is on our radar screen and we’re in the information gathering stage,” Baylor law professor and faculty athletics representative Mike Rogers, chair of the Amateurism Cabinet,. “One of our overriding concerns is getting accurate and non-biased information to get meaningful decisions. We’re going to be wide open to suggestions.”
The biggest priority for the NCAA is to ensure their students with professional athletic opportunities have all the correct information when it comes time to make a decision about their career.
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Big 12 conference commissioner Dan Beebe has offered a scenario that would allow agents to assist athletes. He believes that agents may prove quite useful if used in the right manner.
“Let agents have contracts with players and the schools,” Beebe said. “Those clauses would have a liquidated damages clause, where it would cost the agent $1 million or $2 million if they did anything that made the player ineligible . . . The ethical guys will come out of it in better shape by putting sunshine on this. You’ll promote the agents who want to do it the right way.”
It is not yet known what type of effect the investigation will have on the eligibility of teams in the future, but the best online sportsbooks have set Alabama as the favorite to win the 2011 BCS National Championship if they do not come under fire from the NCAA.