The League

Rob Rang
Draft Guru

Rob Rang

Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com

NFL must follow NCAA's lead, add bite to bark

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For those who didn't know any better, one might think agents and their shady behavior towards amateur athletes had originated during this year's off-season in college football.

USC was the big story-line early, with NCAA executives seemingly reacting by aggressively investigating athletes at a host of other schools -- including North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, and Florida -- who may have illegally associated with agents over the past several months.

In reality, however, agents finding ways to provide prospective clients with gifts, money and lavish trips is nothing new.

The NCAA, as an institution, has long maintained strict rules governing agent-athlete relationships. Unfortunately, much of the actual policing of these rules was done "in-house" by school officials. Imagine being in the position of these officials -- who certainly know the rules -- but are understandably hesitant to publicly admit they failed at their job by turning in their own star athletes and thereby risking the team's success.

With the heavy sanctions being levied against USC, however, it isn't at all surprising that North Carolina and the other universities so far investigated by the NCAA have been so cooperative. The NCAA, of course, has the legal right to sanction the players and the schools.

Some might argue that enough is being done by the NCAA. If the NCAA and the individual universities and athletic teams are policing themselves, there shouldn't be a problem, right?

Unfortunately, it isn't that simple. Players, themselves, are often to blame. I've talked to agents who tell me they field calls from players openly looking for cash handouts before signing contracts -- a clear violation of NCAA rules. Agents hoping to play by the rules, I'm told, are too often "beaten" by other agents who are willing to break them.

And therein lies the problem.

There is no strict policing of agents. Agents' actions can get players and their collegiate teams in real trouble, but until the NFL and/or NFLPA takes a tip from the NCAA and elects to discipline those in their control -- the rogue agents -- the problem will continue to spiral out of control.

It will take someone much more intelligent than I to come up with the legal mumbo-jumbo to get this thing fixed correctly. But, doesn't it make sense for agents to suffer similar consequences as the athletes should they be found involved in these cases?

If Dez Bryant or another player is found to be involved, he's typically suspended for the year. Should an agent be proven to have knowingly given athletes improper benefits that result in the player being suspended for any amount of time, the agent too should be suspended by the NFL.

Not allowing him or her to add any additional clients for one year would likely do the trick.

By Rob Rang  |  August 3, 2010; 12:14 PM ET  | Category:  College Football , NCAA , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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