Agents Paying Student-Athletes, That's Not New

Here’s a shocker. Apparently sports agents who cater to the top
football athletes who are months away from a financial windfall in the
NFL, are paying players. Really? Unbelievable. Other recent newsflashes
worth noting include: Brett Favre will soon be trading the Tempurpedic
Foam bed he used to share with Deanna for a comfy couch in the garage
and Randy Moss catches the football better than he throws it.

From the world of Duh comes a former sports agent telling Sports Illustrated
he paid college
football players early in his career, and several of them confirmed it
to the magazine. In the Oct. 18 edition, Josh Luchs said he paid more
than 30 players from 1990 to ’96, including many who didn’t sign with
him. Is there really anybody out there that is naive enough to believe
this is something new? I hope not because paying amateur athletes is as
old as the currency being exchanged.image6951277g.jpg

Whether its concert tickets, video game consoles, restaurant gift
certificates, gas cards, cars, rent or whatever, the top athletes at the
top universities having been “taken care” of for decades. It just makes me wonder why this startling admission from an agent is receiving
so much attention. I truly thought this was common knowledge.

The only real news to come out of this story was that despite the agent
admitting and documenting what he gave each former college athlete,
several of the now-Pro athletes are still sticking to their stories and
denying any wrong doing. If this long-standing tradition/problem is to
ever be cured, stories like this are the first step in the clean-up
process and cooperation from the former athletes is a must.

Because I was apparently mistaken in my belief everyone knew of this
practice, I would say the more admissions like this the better. That way
we can educate those who have been sticking their heads in the sand for years in
an MLB/Steroids issue kinda way. Perhaps, once the general
public fully comprehends the depth of the situation, we can start
implementing stiffer penalties for all of those who don’t follow the

Others argue that paying all of the student-athletes would solve the
problem but the cash-cow universities won’t allow that to happen any
time soon so don’t hold your breath on that one.

The most logical suggestion to solving the problem I heard tossed around
is allowing the athletes to basically continue their current
relationships with agents except do everything above board. Meaning,
instead of accepting gifts and cash from their agents and later
refunding the payments when they start cashing their checks as
professionals, they can do so without fear of any future legal entanglements.

Why doesn’t the NCAA and the Universities work on on a student loan-like
system in which athletes can sign a binding contract to borrow money
legally from agents with the agreement that they will pay it back when
they turn pro. That way, the can’t-miss pro prospects can continue to
drive Hummers, live in off-campus lofts and eat and drink the best food
and beverages without having to sneak around to do it.

Let’s face it, these top amateur athletes generate millions of dollars
for their universities in ticket and memorabilia sales so why not let
them roll the dice and sign their future away legally if they decide to?
It has to be better than the current system of back-alley payouts and
millions of others living in denial.


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