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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Slive, Saban take aim at seedy NFL agents

Two SEC heavyweights took aim at what they perceive to be an increase in the corrupting influence NFL agents have had on college players.

Commissioner Mike Slive set them up on a tee. Alabama coach Nick Saban knocked them out of the park Wednesday at SEC Media Days.

Slive and Saban began the day's lineup of speakers by railing against the increasing number of incidents involving agents improperly giving college players extra benefits. The vitriol came not long after new broke that Alabama and the NCAA were looking into Crimson Tide defensive end Marcell Dareus' trip to a party in Miami hosted by an agent.

"Agents that do this -- and I hate to say this -- but how are they any better than a pimp?" said Saban, who did not shed light on Dareus' situation specifically. "I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None."

Florida coach Urban Meyer later called it an epidemic, calling certain agents "predators."

Slive, while not excusing an athlete's inappropriate behavior, called for the NCAA to review its policies, hoping to change the "philosophical basis for these rules from enforcement to an assistance-based model."

"While it is true that most of our student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports," Slive said, "we need to be able to assist those who choose sports as their profession, just as students receive counseling guidance as they choose medicine, business, dance, law, music or any other path as their profession."

Saban, who dealt with the issue two years ago when left tackle Andre Smith was suspended for the Sugar Bowl after having improper dealings with an agent, reiterated statements he made recently, suggesting enforcement from the NFL's side for what he called "entrapment of young people at a very difficult time of their life."

He said if an agent does anything to affect the eligibility of a college athlete, that agent should be suspended for a year.

"Whatever we need to do to create some consequences for people who are not doing the right things here," Saban said. "Although the players are responsible and the players should have consequences if they do it, the agent should have consequences. Right now they have none."

Saban also suggested that if the NFL doesn't do anything about it, he might be inclined to ban pro scouts from his practices in the future.

"I'm not sure that that same hospitality will be welcomed in the future," he said.


Aubie said...

First Again! Substance! This is awesome... hey, wait... This isn't the HABOTN.

Aubie said...

Just kidding Andy. Great job... love the twitter feeds too!

AUsome04 said...

Come on now Andy, those guys are trying to save face wouldn't you agree? Saban and Meyer both got caught with their (shall we say) pants down. Florida had that guy taking $100,000 & the other kid from bama got to go kick it in Miami. How could either coach say anything when the first thing probably out of both coaches mouthes when they're in a recruits home is NFL, NFL, NFL. Now they want to bash the agents, ha. Most of these agents have ties to perspective school pipelines anyway.

MikeP said...

Little can be done about agents. The schools should (and do) educate their players about right and wrong concerning agents. If the players don't care and choose to ignore what they are taught, it's on them.

Andy Bitter said...

I agree that the timing of this sudden outrage is a little questionable. If this was such a huge issue in football, why did it take two of their players getting busted for Saban and Meyer to say something?

That being said, I agree with them that it is a problem and the NCAA should probably look into it.