Yesterday was day one of SEC media day, and as usual there were fireworks. Last year was the fireworks of Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer taking shots at each other, this year, the buzz word was ‘agents.’ Several SEC schools are under investigation for NCAA violations where players may have taken money from agents. This provided the backdrop for the media day. Although several coaches spoke on the growing problem of agents reaching players before their college elgibility is up, Nick Saban provided the most polarizing quote of the day:
“I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agent.,” “The agents that do this — and I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?”
“I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None. How would you feel if they did it to your child?”
Saban goes on the say that the NFL has to be the ones to enforce some type of punishment on these ‘unscrupulous agents’. If the NFL doesn’t step in, Saban threaten to stop allowing NFL scouts come to his practice.
Hold on Nick….slow down.
First, calling agents ‘pimps’ when you make millions in salary off of players you don’t pay is a little ‘pot calling the kettle black.’ Second, selling ‘wolf’ tickets about kicking the NFL out your practices is a little ‘Dan Gilbert-ish.’ You know you won’t do that, having an NFL factory is part of your recruiting pitch. Having the NFL at your practices, is making good on your promise.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that if there are going to be any penalities enforced on the agents, it has to be done by the NFL. Actually, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith agrees. Yesterday morning on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, Smith stated that the Players Association wants to strongly enforce the rules to decertify agents who violate rules, up to criminal prosecution.
The NCAA rules concerning a student athlete receiving any money or gifts are what they are, and they are not going to change. Initially, I thought a good solution would be for the schools to issue stipends to student athletes. Then I realized that wasn’t a realistic solution. I’ll give you two reasons why:
1. Every student athlete doesn’t generate money for the school they play for. Therefore, a school would have to figure out a scale of what type of stipend to give certain sports, starters over bench players, etc.
2. Most schools wouldn’t be able to afford paying every student athlete.
Now here are some solutions I have heard that I think will work:
- Like DeMaurice Smith said, decertify agents that violate the rules.
- Put a cap on rookie contracts, although top picks will still get lucrative endorsement deals and still be a target of agents.
- Student athletes that violate the rules and take money, have to pay back their scholarship(again, not a big deal for professional bound athletes)
- Coaches and athletic directors that have multiple violations under their watch will have to pay a fine, whether they are still with the program or not.
I am quite sure there are other solutions and probably better ones, but one thing I think everyone can agree upon is something has to change, students shouldn’t suffer the biggest consequences of the violations.
Another thing I am sure of, building a better mousetrap only causes the mice to become smarter….
Erikka is the newest member of the BSO staff and resident female voice. You can follow her on twitter here.