There’s a lot of emphasis placed on making sure college athletes don’t interact with agents while they’re still in school. For that reason, it’s definitely surprising that the Big Ten Network was actually employing an active agent as a college football analyst.
Yahoo! Sports reports that BTN analyst Chris Martin has been an NFLPA-certified agent since 2006 and has been working with the BTN since its inaugural year in 2007. According to the NFLPA, Martin has represented at least 12 NFL players, including four Big Ten players: Jordan Bernstine (Iowa) Jarred Fayson and Jason Ford (Illinois) and Will Patterson (Indiana). Martin is a former cornerback for Northwestern.
Today, Martin is also the President and CEO of OTG Sports Management.
The NCAA does not prohibit agents from working as analysts, but it is generally considered a conflict of interest and the Big Ten Network told Yahoo! it was unaware Martin was an agent when he was hired. An example of that conflict of interest came in last year’s game between Arkansas State and Illinois. Martin served as a color analyst for the game and OTG later went on to represent Ford and Arkansas State defensive end Brandon Joiner.
“BTN talent should not be in the business of representing Big Ten student athletes,” BTN spokesperson Elizabeth Conlisk told Yahoo!. “We are handling the matter internally.”
How, exactly, the matter will be handled and what role Martin will have with the BTN going forward is unknown.
So, too, is how the BTN could go through with hiring an analyst without knowing — at any time, according to them — he’s an agent.