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July 28, 2010

About the NCAA Investigation

Image by Jim Hipple

Let's start with the basics here. I have it on decent authority beyond simply AJ Green's statement at SEC Media Days that he was in fact in South Carolina when the problematic party was happening in Miami. So that's good. That comes from someone in our network who personally saw him.

But let's get to the bigger issues at play here. This year the NCAA expanded its enforcement staff for men's basketball and football. Of particular interest are agents, runners and third parties that are funneling kids to different universities or funneling benefits to specific players prior to going pro. For a look at the special group of investigators going after basketball handlers pre-enrollment, you can view this NCAA presentation talking about what they are looking for.

Anyway, the NCAA is trying to reign in the spending pre and post enrollment on kids. If you actually read the Reggie Bush / OJ Mayo NCAA findings, it reads as a cautionary tale to other athletic departments. It's basically a warning shot to the rest of big-time basketball and football that the NCAA cops are coming.

The Marvin Austin / Miami Agent Party is simply the first high-profile opportunity to put that enforcement staff into action.

But why now? Why go after the cheating more now? One could argue that it's because there's more cheating going on. But I also wonder if the timing is also reflective of the upcoming NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NCAA wants to put pressure on the NFLPA and the NFL Owners (via bad PR related to agents/runners) to ban agents who tamper with players. Could the NCAA be trying to put that kind of language and conversation on the table as part of the negotiations?

Also, I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that not every state has Agent Tampering (wrong verbiage) laws like Florida does. After the Tank Black saga at UF in the 90s, the State of Florida legislature attached criminal penalties to agents who provide certain incentives to college athletes.

The current Miami Party investigation is sort of a perfect storm for the NCAA. A chance to flex it's expanded enforcement muscle pre-NFL negotiations in a state where there are harsher penalties for the alleged activities during a time where the college football writers are ramping their attention to the sport back up (pre-Media Days).

I think we walk away clean on this particular issue. But the NCAA is definitely looking for more opportunities to make examples of schools.



Ollllddude said...

I am glad that it is not AJ. I am trying to figure out who it might be, and I am stumped. Not that we don't have good players, but I can't think of anyone we have that fits into the Reggie Bush/Mayo category. Maybe I am shooting too high. Maybe lots were invited but most had the good sense not to go. Kind of wish the other shoe would drop so we could get on with the season.

Anonymous said...

FYI...most states, including GA, have Athlete Agent statutes.

fuelk2 said...

It's only a matter of time before someone else gets nailed on this in a big way like USC did. Too many players come from humble backgrounds and are attracted to nicer things. That's really hard to resist at that age.

That's why I didn't laugh much when UF got implicated in the whole agent mess. No one is immune, especially if the NCAA is hell bent on getting someone.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so sure the AJ Green issue with the NCAA will be resolved quickly or that AJ is clean just because he wasn't at the party. The NCAA will also be questioning AJ about his knowledge of the party and any other contact he may have had with agents & financial advisors. This isn't a done deal by any stretch. Hopefully he's made good decisions & been forthright about any contact or knowledge prior to this event. We shall soon see.

Andy said...

I think we walk away clean, as well.

blackertai said...

On topic: Good to know. I can't say I'm not thrilled that the hammer is back in action.

Off topic: It's great that you're posting regularly again. I'm thrilled the site is back in regular rotation again in my daily dawg reading queue.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

What I like is that the NCAA is acting on things happening right now. Too often it is several years later, players not even in school are penalized because of "lack of institutional control".

I think that there are several things that could be done. Some of these have come from others.
1) Educate the players about agents and let the agents contact the players on campus, under "control" of the coaching staff and administrators at set times.
2) Allow coaches to have more contact time with players. I am not what the restriction is on contact out of season, but it needs to be reduced. So many of these kids look to the coaches for guidance.

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