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Alabama may be latest school entangled in growing player-agent scandal

Along with a couple of other web entities, we reported over the weekend that the tentacles of an investigation involving players’ relationships with agents that began in North Carolina and branched out to South Carolina could ultimately grab hold of additional schools in the coming days and weeks.

With that as a backdrop… hello defending national champion Alabama!  And less than 24 hours before the start of the SEC’s media days, no less.

According to Mark Schlabach and Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com, Alabama officials are investigating the presence of Tide defensive lineman Marcel Dareus at an agent’s party in South Beach earlier this year.  Multiple sources told the website that the school is attempting to ascertain whether any NCAA rules were broken on Dareus’ trip to Miami.

Tide head coach Nick Saban confirmed the probe, saying that “our compliance people are looking into it.”

NCAA investigators have interviewed several members of the North Carolina football program in the past several days, as well as South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, in regard to trips to South Florida and who exactly paid for flights, hotels and other expenses.

This is all on top of former Florida offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey — who was expected to release a statement Tuesday but will wait until his former coach Urban Meyer speaks at the conference’s media day Wednesday — reportedly receiving $100,000 from the runner of an unnamed agent before the Gators’ Sugar Bowl win this past January.

All of the agent brouhaha has Saban ready to go medieval on his former stomping grounds and bar NFL teams from stepping foot onto campuses if the league and the NFLPA can’t get the agents under control.

“What the NFL Players Association and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes ineligibility for a player, they should suspend his [agent’s] license for a year or two,” Saban said. “I’m about ready for college football to say, ‘Let’s just throw the NFL out. Don’t let them evaluate players. Don’t let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.’ If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?

“Right now, agents are screwing it up. They are taking the eligibility of players. It’s not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else.”

Even if he’s merely saber-rattling when it comes to banning NFL clubs, Saban is 100-percent correct; something needs to be done as it pertains to player agents and their contact with student-athletes.

Either the NCAA needs to pay players so that the benefits currently being offered to X number of players isn’t as tempting — ain’t happening — or the NCAA and their member institutions need to put into place draconian rules that will in some way possibly help ensure that the few bad apples who give all agents a bad name are kept away — as much as humanly possible, anyway — until the players have exhausted their eligibility or declared for the NFL draft.

There’s simply no middle ground in this situation; either engage in an all-out war against all player agents or pay the players.  One of the two.

Or, like my dad always told me: give an agent an inch, and he’ll pay somebody to take a mile.

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Respond to “Alabama may be latest school entangled in growing player-agent scandal”
  1. blitz4848 says: Jul 20, 2010 6:44 PM

    Donna…>Roll Tide

  2. WingT says: Jul 20, 2010 6:59 PM

    I am sure that Dr. Witt will see to it that Bama aggressively complies with the NCAA investigation on this.
    If an agent has compensated an Alabama player I can reassure all that the Attorney General in the sate will hang his ass

  3. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 20, 2010 7:35 PM

    But wait theres more………
    SEC! SEC! SEC!
    Careful Blitz they might not be done at UF.

  4. funi says: Jul 20, 2010 8:00 PM

    Like I have always stated, the SEC is full of criminals, kids who do not go to class and they get paid big time! I think Vandy is the only school is that overrated conferance that has not been investigated by NCAA for something!

  5. Deb says: Jul 20, 2010 8:05 PM

    Children, children … I’d love to know how you think any of this stuff the fault of Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, or the SEC. Agent approaches player on the down-low and offers bribe. Player takes bribe. Or agent offers to fly player to a golf tournament or party and player takes bait. That’s not a sign of systemic corruption, and you know it. If you don’t know it, you must have really sucked at those kiddie connect-the-dot games.
    I could take it as a sign that pro agents think SEC players are highly marketable … except I’m pretty sure it’s going on throughout the NCAA.
    Saban’s a Big Dog in college football. The other coaches need to line up behind him. The NFL will have a tough time rounding up talent without its free farm system. And the league is going to need A LOT of talent to carry out Roger Goodell’s sinister plan for world domination because they sure as heck don’t have training camps for American football players in the U.K., Mexico, and Europe!
    Fire the agents who step out of line. If that leaves the league without any agents, so what. Agents are a lot easier to replace than players.

  6. TitanicComeback says: Jul 20, 2010 8:16 PM

    WAR EAGLE

  7. WingT says: Jul 20, 2010 8:25 PM

    @Deb
    I disagree slightly with what you offer.
    I’s not the place for the coaches to lead the NCAA on this issue – The Presidents of the Universities will need to lead the charge with the support of the coaches .
    It will take a combined effort from the NCAA, the NFL and the NFLPA to put a stop to this. I am not sure that the NFL and the NFLPA see this as a problem for them to solve.
    One day an agent is going to screw up in the state of Alabama and he will be made an example of by the AG and his ass will be thrown in jail

  8. baracuda says: Jul 20, 2010 8:37 PM

    Gee—an agent in SouthBeach that doesnt play by the rules…..wonder who that could be Drew?

  9. baracuda says: Jul 20, 2010 8:41 PM

    Gee—an agent in SouthBeach that doesnt play by the rules…..wonder who that could be Drew?

  10. WingT says: Jul 20, 2010 9:05 PM

    Now this is interestng;
    The Tuscaloosa News reports that the University of Alabama athletic department officials are investigating whether defensive lineman Marcel Dareus and other UA players attended an agent’s party in Miami earlier this summer, and, if so, how the trip was funded .
    “And other U of A players???
    Uh Oh

  11. overratedgators says: Jul 20, 2010 9:07 PM

    WingT says: … If an agent has compensated an Alabama player I can reassure all that the Attorney General in the sate will hang his ass
    Alabama has more than one Attorney General?

  12. WingT says: Jul 20, 2010 9:12 PM

    @overratedgators
    Just watch and see what happens in this case.
    Also, you’re lucky that your team members could just hop in the car and drive across town to the party :)

  13. overratedgators says: Jul 20, 2010 9:25 PM

    Oops. Scrap that. I just re-read it. I am an idiot. That is all.

  14. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 20, 2010 9:36 PM

    Baracuda,
    I thought the same thing as far as Drew.
    Get some rest Mississippi fans!
    SEC SEC SEC

  15. WingT says: Jul 20, 2010 9:37 PM

    One final thought…
    It must have been a heck of a party , lol

  16. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 20, 2010 9:40 PM

    This is interesting I have heard whispers Bama might not come out of this to well.
    http://www.propublica.org/article/off-the-radar-private-planes-hidden-from-public-view-040810

  17. gator_prof says: Jul 20, 2010 9:45 PM

    Again…several differences here:
    1) An assistant coach isn’t facilitating…
    2) It is a single party, not a multi-year arrangement of vehicles, housing, cash, gifts, etc.
    3) It also doesn’t involve multiple players or sports.
    4) Bama is cooperating and not stonewalling.
    Sorry USC fans, this doesn’t compare to getting smacked with “lack of institutional control”.

  18. BlitzburghGator says: Jul 20, 2010 9:58 PM

    LMAO @ “holier than thou” Donna….

  19. Deb says: Jul 21, 2010 12:57 AM

    @WingT …
    An agent did pull this crap in the state of Alabama on Gene Stallings’s watch. That’s Gene Stallings, one of the cleanest coaches EVER in the NCAA. The AG didn’t do a blasted thing, the player went to the Cleveland Browns, the agent collected his commission, and the University of Alabama GOT SCREWED on sanctions.
    Do you know how many years this stuff has been going on? Please point me to the prisons housing all these disgraced and convicted agents. Do you think the state of Alabama is the only state in the nation with an ass-kicking AG? You think Florida and Texas aren’t serious about criminal justice?
    By the way … just what criminal statutes is Alabama’s AG going to use to put them in jail? Because you can’t jail people for violating NCAA rules.
    And where have all these University presidents been all these years? Where was Alabama’s president when those NCAA penalties came down because an agent in a bar wrote his name on a napkin, handed it to a kid, and the kid lied to Coach Stallings, who then–trusting the kid–misrepresented the situation to the NCAA? Are we hearing from them now???
    The NFL and the NFLPA … would that be the NFLPA that represents the players … that take the bribes … and are represented by the agents … that offer the bribes? Yeah, they’re real motivated to stop these practices, especially since they can give and take all the bribes they want with NO repercussions. And why should the NFL stir the pot when they’ve got nothing to lose?
    Or they had nothing to lose until Saban spoke up. NOBODY has substantively addressed this issue before and NOBODY is going to do it in the future. It’s only going to get WORSE unless the other coaches join Saban and scare the CRAP out of the NFL. They have a big bargaining chip. It will take numbers to play it. I suggest they marshall their forces.
    And all you guys that think this is only about the SEC or the Pacific Coast? If our conference doesn’t do business with the NFL, guess whose players they’ll be bribing next?

  20. Bucknut says: Jul 21, 2010 7:26 AM

    Deb: I’m not exactly Nick Satan’s biggest fan, but I have to agree that he is the only one with big enough balls to say and possibly do something about this.

  21. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 21, 2010 7:31 AM

    Gator Prof,
    I think you have LSU and USC confused. USC did not have a coach facilitating anything. The NCAA believes McNair knew what was going on not that he had anything to do with it.
    LSU had a coach who was paying a players rent and they self reported a few months ago.
    This piece covers the evidence they had and how shaky it is.
    http://usc.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1096117
    It sounds like the focus of the NCAA investigation is on the SEC. There is also a lot of talk about 1 more Gator coming out possibly Haden. Keep hearing there is about 7 schools involved.
    If I was Alabama I would be worried given their history.

  22. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 21, 2010 8:27 AM

    Bama fans hearing Dre Kirkpatric
    is being suspended?

  23. Cornerdenizen says: Jul 21, 2010 9:25 AM

    Hey, wait a second Mr. Taylor. Youve been reminding folks on a very consistent basis that Reggie Bush–and only Reggie Bush— is college football’s greatest villain.
    All these posts of wrongdoing, or implications of wrongdoing at other schools is just going to confuse your readers. Better be careful.

  24. WingT says: Jul 21, 2010 9:32 AM

    @Deb
    First of all Deb. Roll Tide. Secondly I am not a lawyer and if I have come across as being a bit of an “expert” regarding Alabama Law and agents, then I wish to set that record straight – I don’t know the details of the law.
    Here is a quote from SportsAgentBlog do com that bests sums up my opinion as to why I thing the AG in Alabama is going to bring it hard on any agent that messes with a student-athlete in the state of Alabama;
    “[Don’t] ever represent any player that is a resident or goes to school in the state of Alabama. I am not an agent anymore, but I wouldn’t do it.” – Mike Trope, author of Necessary Roughness and former NFLPA agent.
    Trope was quoted in SportsBusiness Journal (subcription required) in reference to the Raymond Lee Savage Jr. story that I have reported on in the past. Do Alabama’s notoriously tough agent laws truly create such a high risk of potential penalty that it is clearly not worth recruiting in the state? A potential verdict of ten-years in prison for Savage for failing to register as an athlete agent in Alabama (Class C felony)…seems like quite a hefty consequence. I am having a tough time trying to argue with Trope’s opinion.

  25. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 10:40 AM

    @ blitz4848:
    ROLL TIDE DARLING!!!!!!!
    p.s. your a piss ant you knew I’d be on here……LMAO!!!
    I’m not going to get excited till I turn on my local news and see Sir Nick on there being led out in hand cuffs. He’ll get to the bottom of it because he doesn’t want this kind of stink associated with his reputation and the universities.
    Also, they better not make the agents name known, his “buttocks” won’t be allowed back in BAMA!!

  26. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 10:52 AM

    @ BlitzburghGator:
    Holier than thou? Naaa thanks for the title, but I never placed BAMA above anyone. If you go back and visit yesterdays UF message board you will see that. This thing has become like a domino affect and before long there is no telling who is going to be brought into this. USC was hit because Reggie Bush stiffed the agent he was taking “gifts” from, and I do think their punishment was harsh because they had winning seasons during the time the infractions took place. If this is found to be true I fully expect BAMA’s punishment to be healthy simply because they are last season’s national champs.
    One thing for certain, the alumni at BAMA has had their fill of these type problems with outside interference with players. For Saban to make that statement, he’s obviously discussed this around the table of higher authority and they will absolutely shut UA off from agents as threatened before they allow this program to go on suffering for one player’s idiotic behavior.
    But I’ll gladly give you a laugh at my expense, just don’t chuckle too hard, this isn’t the last we’ver heard of this.

  27. edgy says: Jul 21, 2010 11:14 AM

    I really don’ t think that there’s any real way to address the issue. The first thing that some people have to realize that the REAL guilty parties are the agent AND the player. Other call the NCAA on the carpet for not paying the players but really, is that a valid excuse?
    The NCAA has two problems with it comes to paying players: cost and their insistence that Title IX is a big issue (That last one gets me every time). Yes, it will cost a lot to pay the players and yes, while Title IX seems to be an issue, it’s really only a MALE issue because they’re not complaining about the fact that they’d also have to pay the other male athletes.
    Getting back to costs, if the university just paid the football team and they paid them $100 per week, that would come out to $312,000 for an 80 man football team. For the entire division I-A, that would mean $37 million. Start adding up the other people on campus who are playing sports and we’re getting into what Congress calls real money. Yes, the NCAA makes a lot of money off the players but once you start paying them, it becomes even less. Still…
    Ok, now that everyone’s done the math, let’s get back to reality. $3,900 is a drop in the bucket for the real stars and an agent will drop more than that on them and no pay for play plan by the NCAA is going to stop the players from taking the money.
    Maybe the only possible solution is for the NCAA is a hybrid plan: they pay for the athletes for 2 years and in return, they promise not to sign with an agent or take money from them for 2 years and they pay back the university any money that they were paid, if they break that promise. Agents would be certified by the NCAA and if they screw up, they can face fines and de-certification. An agent can sign a player for his last couple of years and he can pay him but the player is committed to that school unless he leaves for the pros. There would probably have to be some kind of transfer penalty to keep agents from moving guys from smaller schools to bigger schools. Who knows, maybe alumni money could be used to help defray expenses.
    The only thing that I see that could be disturbing is that we’re back to the point for the existence of the NCAA. Many people point to the Ivy League schools for doing it the right way but in reality, they were the worst of the lot and those old movies showing guys playing college football for years and years, were based on reality. They got out of the big time sports business for a reason and the NCAA was formed to stop the practices that they had made popular. Should we head back down that slippery slope again? The one thing that I can say is the the system isn’t working now and the time will come when we could end up like the old SWC, which had one or more members on probation in any given year before they broke up.

  28. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 11:23 AM

    @ SoFlaTrojan:
    I read the article and I see where they referenced to the Universities of Alabama and Mississippi, however it list them as “registered owners”.
    Are you saying that the Universities kept flights secret because of something underhanded? To me it would be suicide for a university to allow a plane registered as such to transport players to an unauthorized gathering. Unless I missed something I think you’re reaching on this one. The article made no mention of them finding any illegal reason to do this as it states many many fortune 500 companies use this practice.
    I think this ties into more of a homeland security issue. JMHO

  29. blitz4848 says: Jul 21, 2010 11:27 AM

    @ Donna
    I may be in Love
    Check out the SEC Media days posts
    October 2nd Baby—I think the “Tide” will be going OUT……..

  30. blitz4848 says: Jul 21, 2010 11:43 AM

    @ Donna
    You nailed it
    SoFlaTrojan’s middle name is R E A C H…..
    anything SEC triggers his “reach syndrome”
    Keep watching the boards–soon you will see
    SoFlaSEC blogging…..that will be the TROJAN man coming out…….

  31. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 11:46 AM

    @ blitz4848:
    Oh I’ve checked it out, but thanks for the tip on it. I’m going to be the avid BAMA fan I’ve always been and stick by my TIDE! A true fan doesn’t “jump ship” during times or controversy or a season of losses. All I know is the “Saban nation” will be looking to our leader in T-Town to take the appropriate action along with the AD to minimize the blow BAMA may take.
    I’ll take it as a positive sign that UA is all over this thing and that they are taking the initiative to do their own internal investigation before the NCAA comes knocking, literally.
    ROLL TIDE BLITZ, ROLL TIDE MY FRIEND!!

  32. tryagain says: Jul 21, 2010 11:51 AM

    @ Funi-
    Die already.

  33. blitz4848 says: Jul 21, 2010 12:08 PM

    @ tryagain
    about “funi”
    I thought he was Dead—“Brain dead”

  34. tryagain says: Jul 21, 2010 12:36 PM

    @ blitz4848
    yes he is brain dead, i’m just waiting on the old ticker to stop beating as well. overkill- ehh maybe? p.s. i’m not even a bammer fan but as your sec sister (woo pig) so i can’t listen to his utter nonsense anymore than you can.

  35. blitz4848 says: Jul 21, 2010 12:51 PM

    @ tryagain
    Not so fast…..I am a GATOR………….
    Life is Good

  36. Deb says: Jul 21, 2010 12:56 PM

    @WingT …
    I know we’re on the same side. That anger isn’t directed at you–it’s directed at the impotence of the system to this point. The reason I mentioned criminal statutes regarding agents is because they have to violate criminal statutes, not just NCAA rules, for the AG to take action. All states have laws requiring agents to register in order to do business in the state–which seems to be the issue discussed in that article. But that’s not the issue in these bribery cases. Again, as far as I know, no agent has been jailed for bribing these kids and wreaking havoc with these football programs. It didn’t happen in the Stallings case, and I don’t believe any agent has been jailed in the USC matter.
    University presidents haven’t attempted to deal with this situation. Goodell runs his mouth nonstop about staining a shield that has mud all over it. He’s too busy playing politics and counting money to notice. The NFLPA doesn’t want to fix this problem.
    So far Saban is the first guy with the nerve to make the one threat that could have a serious impact.
    @Donna …
    Nooooo, Saban did not go hat-in-hand up the mountain and ask big-money boosters for permission to make that statement. LOL
    Saban pisses off the boosters every chance he gets. They fought hiring him because they knew they’d never control him. He routinely skips their functions or sends Terry. Or he’ll agree to go, stay five min., and leave. It’s hysterical. He may have run it by a couple of other coaches. But the big-money boys found out about it when they read it in the paper–just like the rest of us.

  37. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 1:16 PM

    @ Deb:
    We’re both Tide fans I see, and what I meant by “higher authority” was the AD (Mal More) who you know is livid at this point, and I’m sure the University President has already been made aware of the Tsunami that may rush in to spoil last seasons rewards and place a rather heavy damper on this season.
    As far as alumni, may be I should have worded that alittle differently, I think they’ve been made aware just so the phone wouldn’t explode with their calls once it hit the media streams.

  38. blitz4848 says: Jul 21, 2010 1:32 PM

    Don’t like Sabans handling of his job hopping adventures but he is spot on. If big time programs, ie… AL, UT, USC, FL, OU etc ban “ALL” NFL personnel from their campuses that will get the NFLs attention. They save tons of time & $$$ watching practices and viewing game films on all these campuses. I said big time programs because they turn out the most NFL draft picks and would impact the NFL the quickest. The NFL & NFLPA could reign in these agents rather quickly “if” it was advantagious. Who knows–maybe some day agents won’t be considered such a scum sucking profession! Probably not in our lifetime but someday????

  39. SoFlaTrojan says: Jul 21, 2010 2:02 PM

    Donna,
    As you read the article is not really about Alabama football just the one paragraph. Given the fact that throw away cell phones have become such a big part of recruiting during non contact periods it is interesting they would use these planes to hide recruiting trips.
    I hope for your sake that Alabama comes out ok. Do you think Saban would get this pissed if it only involved 1 player?

  40. Deb says: Jul 21, 2010 2:17 PM

    @Donna …
    Oh … yes, Mal was probably given a heads-up before the phone started ringing LOL
    Like I told someone on another post, not under any illusions about Saban being a knight in shining armor. Know people who work for him. He can be an ass … but I love him because he’s OUR ass and one brilliant college coach ;) Especially love how he ticks off some of those boosters who think they should run things because they have a lot of $$$. Having money doesn’t make you a football genius–as Redskins fans have learned about Little Danny Snyder.
    This whole agent issue has stuck in my craw since the Stallings thing. Saban has finally said the magic words to get Emperor Goodell’s attention. If other major programs stick with him, they can force a resolution.

  41. Donna says: Jul 21, 2010 2:27 PM

    @ SoFlaTrojan
    Do you think Saban would get this pissed if it only involved 1 player?
    Yes! Despite he gets a lot of flack for job decisions he’s made and the fact that he wasn’t exactly forthcoming with the media about those changes; I still think he is a man of good character. We all take criticism at some point for decisions we make whether it by our parents, peers, etc., but I think once all is investigated appropriately he will take the necessary action to protect the program and the other players that will suffer along with of those involved in wrong doing. I think if proven that this young man indeed crossed boundaries and put the university program in jeopardy Saban will have no problem releasing him from his commitment to UA.

  42. Deb says: Jul 21, 2010 2:58 PM

    @blitz4848 …
    When tryagain said she was your “SEC sister,” she wasn’t trying to imply you guys support the same school. She’s an Arkansas fan–still in the SEC last time I checked–so she’s as irritated at the SEC bashing as the rest of us.

  43. tryagain says: Jul 21, 2010 5:06 PM

    @ Deb @ Blitz-
    What Deb said. :-)

  44. blitz4848 says: Jul 22, 2010 12:40 PM

    @ tryagain @ Deb
    I understood she was a soooy pig fan—I THOUGHT tryagain thought I was a BAMA ( god forgive me) fan. :-(

  45. Donna says: Jul 22, 2010 3:07 PM

    BREAKING FREAKING NEW:
    A source with knowledge of the inquiry says Ingram attended the party on May 12th at District nightclub. Ingram was photographed (left) at the celebration for college stars who had just been drafted by NFL teams — — including Florida’s Joe Haden (center).
    Ingram is a returning junior this year and we’re told the NCAA wants to know if agents paid for anything involved with his DC trip — which could be a violation of NCAA rules.
    The University of Alabama says Ingram is on the up and up. The Compliance Department tells us, “Mark asked if he could visit Joe Haden at his home in Baltimore. We checked with the NCAA and they approved this trip as long as Mark provided receipts for his expenses.”
    Now if this is true it proves the NCAA is on a “witch hunt”!!

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