After a mostly quiet offseason, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has made a couple of headlines over the past week.
First, the preseason Heisman candidate did some name dropping at SEC Media Days by listing off quarterbacks he felt were scared of him. Now, he’s being connected to Jay-Z and his agency, Roc Nation Sports.
InsidetheLeague was, to our knowledge, the first source to report the story; the NFL Network and other outlets picked up on it later.
South Carolina has acknowledged its compliance department is looking into the details, calling the inquiry “standard operating procedure.”
Before this goes any further, it should be noted that Clowney is allowed to speak with agents. He’s just not allowed to come to a verbal or written agreement to be represented. Here is the NCAA’s rule, word for word, on an athlete’s contact with an agent:
Under NCAA Bylaw 12.3, a student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete’s ability or reputation. If the student-athlete enters into such an agreement, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.
Also, a student-athlete may not accept transportation or other benefits from an athlete agent. This prohibition applies to the student-athlete and his or her relatives or friends.
The term “agent” includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and financial advisors.
It is not a violation of NCAA rules if a student-athlete merely talks to an agent (as long as an agreement for agent representation is not established) or socializes with an agent. For example, a student-athlete could go to dinner with an agent and no NCAA violations would result if the student-athlete provided his own transportation and paid for his meal.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Clowney, projected by just about everyone to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft, was speaking with Jay-Z — or any agent for that matter. The topic of the conversation is what’s important. If Clowney simply spoke to Jay-Z and didn’t receive any benefits, then there’s no issue. If it was anything else, it could become one quickly and Clowney’s eligibility in 2013 would come into question. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier, speaking on ESPN today, seemed confident that Clowney has a solid understanding of what he’s allowed and not allowed to do NCAA-wise.
“All of our conversations (with Clowney) are wait until you have played your last game at South Carolina,” Spurrier said. “When the bowl game is over this coming season he’s free to accept any amount of money anybody wants to give him. But until then he has to be a student-athlete like all the other guys or he’s not going to be eligible. He’s done a good job of knowing that.”
We’ll find out for certain when South Carolina’s compliance department comes back with answers.