Hoover, Ala.—Now they’ve done it.
I’m talking about the sleazy agents. Yeah. You know who you are.
You gave us Reggie Bush and the fall of the men from Troy.
You have us in an NCAA investigation that started in North Carolina and seems to be growing by the day. You don’t care that you violate NCAA rules and put the eligibility of these kids in jeopardy and hurt scores of other kids who will never play in the NFL. You don’t care. Not your job. I get that.
Well, know this bubba. You’ve messed up now.
You have made Nick Saban mad and you’ve screwed up the first day of SEC Media Days, which is nothing short of a Southern holiday in this part of the world. It is not to be messed with and you, my friend, have just messed with it.
Word got out yesterday that Alabama is looking into defensive end Marcel Dareus and whether he broke NCAA rules by attending an agents’ party in South Florida. If somebody affiliated with the agent paid Dareus’s expenses, then the Alabama player broke the rules and could have to sit out some games.
The NCAA is already looking into former Florida player Maurkice Pouncey who may have taken money from an agent prior to the Sugar Bowl. Pouncey’s brother, Mike, will be here today representing Florida and will be peppered with questions about Maurkice instead of football.
The NCAA has also looked at South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders on this issue, which is going to dominate these meetings.
Even the unflappable Mike Slive, the SEC Commissioner, is hot under the collar about this one.
I would have this additional word to the sleazy agents: You can do this stuff in the Pac-10 and the Big Ten. Those folks will simply be annoyed.
It ain’t that way here. When it comes to messing with college football in the South, people do not have a sense of humor. They go straight for the pitchforks. You don’t want keep doing this in the SEC. Trust me when I tell you that it’s not good for business.
Saban asks, rightfully so, if it makes sense to throw open the doors to the NFL if that body is not going to help the colleges on this issue. The NFL could simply decree that if you host parties and give stuff to guys who still have eligibility left, and that kid loses eligibility, you don’t get to represent NFL players for a while. The NFL needs to realize that the colleges are the perfect training ground for their future employees. They need to step up to the plate.
If this one party in South Beach causes Dareus to sit, and thus impacts Alabama’s season as the defending national champions, that agent had better change addresses. His identity will be known and he would be well advised not to enter the state of Alabama. They’ll slap a subpoena on you around here—or worse.
But seriously, what should college football do about this? They educate the athletes. They know the rules. If Marcel Dareus got a plane ticket paid for by someone else and his expenses were paid by someone other than his family, he knows he broke the rules. And if Alabama confirms this, the school will have no choice but declare him ineligible and apply to the NCAA for reinstatement. No choice.
Do they ban NFL scouts from campus? Don’t think so. That’s short sighted.
Do they just put these guys under lock and key? Can’t really do that with a 20-hour rule.
Do you make a law against this? A bunch of states already have laws addressing this. The agents ignore the laws.
I think you do two things: You continue to open up the process. Some schools host agents on their campus to do interviews with potential clients. Keep doing that. Demystify the process and get it out of the shadows.
But you also have to ask for help from the NFL.
Just asking: What would you do about these agents?
Man. They just don’t know who they are messing with.
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Programming note: We will be broadcasting our “Talkin’ Football” Show on CSS today, Thursday, and Friday at 6 p.m., Eastern time. Tonight we will sit down with Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen, and Joker Phillips. Bob Neal, Mark Schlabach, Brady Ackerman, and Sandra Goldman join me on the broadcast team. Check us out!