The biggest problem in college football: unscrupulous agents.
As a simple recap would be redundant for anybody who has followed this circus, let's explore what the events that have transpired over the last couple of months mean for the upcoming season and the game as a whole.
Recapping in 500 words or less, here's what we learned about the player agent problem in college athletics:
- At the forefront of the player agent discussion has been a now notorious party on South Beach and how certain players paid their way to attend. Some notable players mentioned have been North Carolina's Marvin Austin, Alabama's Marcel Davis and Georgia's A.J. Green, among several others. Anybody who would believe that this is a new issue would be naïve, but the problem has nonetheless been thrust to the front of every sports page in the country. The loss of any of these players would have a profound effect on their respective teams, most of which have legitimate conference or national title aspirations.
- Coaches have not been shy in expressing their ire with agents sniffing around their players. Nick Saban likened them to "pimps" and Urban Meyer called them "predators". Grambling coach Rod Broadway said that "they should put them all in front of a firing squad and shoot their ass." But what really should be done?
- CollegeFootballTalk.com's John Taylor lays out a few bullet points that seem like, if nothing else, a good jumping off point. "Ban agents for x number of years who have been proven to give illicit benefits to student-athletes that still have collegiate eligibility; strip the remaining eligibility of a player proven to have received extra benefits or, if they've already left for the NFL, suspend them for x number of games without pay -- that's where the NFL and NFLPA would really come in; there are laws in 38 states relating to player-agents and repercussions for their nefarious actions in dealing with student-athletes. Maybe the NCAA and its member schools should, you know, use them?"
- It's hard to argue against the NFL's involvement in some way, but the problem also needs to be addressed by the coaches. They can't exactly pat down visitors to check for business cards at team events and open practices, and they can't watch their players 24/7, but consistently reinforcing the importance of adhering to the rules may go a long way for a lot of athletes.
- All of the players involved have denied any wrongdoing, and I am not declaring anybody guilty here, but the issue brings to light the players' responsibility in the matter. The players need to realize how poisonous getting involved with these agents can be and realize that their talent and hard work on the field will render them successful professionally and financially.
- Nobody is denying that most at fault are the agents who take advantage of these teenagers and young adults. Most of those casting blame on the players have never had thousands of dollars (in some form or another) waived under their nose by what I am guessing is a pretty reassuring individual. I can't say that I've had the pleasure either, so it's hard to really rail on the players, even if they need to understand that they aren't the average 19 or 20 year old kid and need to protect themselves and make decisions accordingly.
So there you have it, a short recap of the player agent scandal that has engulfed the nation, or at the very least the college football/professional football world, for the last couple of months. There will always be dirty dealings when it comes to agents providing illicit benefits, but few doubt that curbing it to some degree is possible and necessary to protect the players from unscrupulous agents. - Danny Hobrock
Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.
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