Anyone expecting the NCAA “inquiry” in Athens to prompt Mark Richt into jumping on the anti-agent “pimps” and “predators” bandwagon with Nick Saban and Urban Meyer doesn’t really know Richt.
Situational (and not very convincing) outrage trotted out for the TV cameras isn’t his style. (Does Saban think his own agent is a pimp? Just wondering.)
While Richt currently is limiting his comments regarding the NCAA to “we’ll see what they gather,” even after the investigation is concluded and he can talk, it would be a major surprise for him to come out pointing fingers and threatening to ban agents or NFL scouts — actions that are highly unlikely to really be taken by Saban and Meyer in any event. (What a recruiting tool that would be for major talent: Come to Alabama, where we can guarantee you won’t be seen at practice by pro scouts. Please.)
Yes, the current situation with agents trolling for future pro clients is getting untenable, but Saban’s approach isn’t going to solve it. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive probably comes closer with his idea that nationally the NCAA needs to rethink its limitations on contact players can have with agents.
No, colleges paying players isn’t likely to happen, and neither is the NCAA approving players taking money from agents. But bringing the agents into the tent in some officially sanctioned capacity might at least cut down on the attraction of peripheral enticements like the party in South Beach.
As for the specifics of the UGA inquiry, we don’t really know who they’re focusing on, despite the report from the celebrity gossip outfit TMZ that it’s A.J Green.
Green says he wasn’t at the party and there’s no reason not to believe him. It’s possible some other Bulldog was involved. Or the NCAA simply could be working its way through all the top NFL prospects to see what they say.
One thing I do know, though: It was kind of ridiculous the way some pundits were trying to dance on Richt’s grave practically within minutes of the announcement of the NCAA inquiry. One more reason he’s on the hot seat? What a crock.
It’s interesting just how anxious some folks are to see Richt fall, delighting in every obstacle thrown in his path, while the sports media in general genuflects in the direction of Saban and Meyer.
Maybe it’s the nice guy image. Or wearing his faith on his sleeve. Maybe they just can’t believe there’s not an inner jerk hiding beneath that calm exterior. Perhaps if he got openly angry more often and lashed out occasionally like Saban and Meyer the harpies of the sports media wouldn’t be so quick to relish in the prospect of tough times for Richt.
It won’t happen, though. Win or lose, Mark Richt is too much of a gentleman to play that game.