As it also turns out, you can count Stoops as one who favors a particular punitive measure discussed during the call, a somewhat radical punishment that one side hopes will at least help alleviate the agent “problem”.
During a tour of the various ESPN platforms Thursday, the Oklahoma coach was asked about Saban barring NFL scouts from attending preseason practices. While he responded to that question — we’ll get to that in a minute — he also addressed during the course of his answer the illicit agent/player relationships that have seemingly consumed college football discussion three weeks before the start of the season.
“Hopefully we’ll get some cooperation through the NFL,” Stoops said in regards to the issue of rogue agents and players that allow themselves to be “preyed” upon. “There needs to be sanctions against these agents and players even after they’ve left college.”
Of course, the NFL can’t simply decide unilaterally to suspend or fine or (insert punishment here) current NFL players who’ve been proven to have received illegal benefits while in college. Such a course of action would have to be collectively bargained with the NFLPA, whose officials, coincidentally or not, were in on a conference call that also included commissioner Roger Goodell.
Agents also fall under the purview of the NFLPA, and it’s their alleged actions — or their minions’ actions — in the wide-ranging scandal that’s hit, amongst other schools, North Carolina and South Carolina that’s led to this whole imbroglio threatening to spill over into the regular season. When asked what schools can do to control illegal activities in the future, Stoops intimated yet again that they need help from the powers-that-be in other organizations.
“People are naive if they think you know everything that is going on. It’s impossible (to know everything), especially if anyone is intentionally going to be deceitful or is hiding something,” Stoops said. “We do a lot of educating, not just Oklahoma but around the country.”
Translation? “NFLPA, get your guys under control because we’re doing all we can do.” Some might debate whether schools in general and coaching staffs specifically are doing all they can to curb the problem, but something that can’t be denied is that this issue is not going away, if for nothing more than the fact that several powerful coaches at elite programs — the very programs that feed the NFL “free” players on an annual basis — are not going to allow it to go away until it’s addressed in what they consider to be a meaningful manner.
Oh, and as far as NFL scouts at Sooner practices? Stoops said he is “considering” going the Full Saban on the professionals because “something has to change.” Again, it’s doubtful such actions undertaken by Saban and considered by coaches such as Stoops would or could last, but it seems to be part of a strategy — planned or otherwise — to make the NFL and NFLPA sit up and take notice.