Pay to play.

I’m not sure whether this is arising out of heightened sensibilities in the wake of the Reggie Bush stuff, or if agents are simply getting more aggressive, but there’s something depressing about the frequency at which we’re starting to see revelations like this:

Florida and NCAA officials are investigating a potential rules violation that allegedly occurred last December involving former Gators football standout Maurkice Pouncey, sources said.

Florida is internally investigating what sources described as an allegation that a representative of an agent paid Pouncey $100,000 between the Gators’ loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game to Alabama and their season-ending Sugar Bowl victory over Cincinnati. Florida apprised the NCAA of the allegation after it became aware of it.

“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement released Monday morning to ESPN.com. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”

I don’t see how the NCAA can police this on its own.  It doesn’t have any control over agents and it doesn’t have any control over players once they leave for the next level.  It seems to me that the NFL and the NFLPA are going to have to step up, assuming it matters to them.

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32 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

32 responses to “Pay to play.

  1. UFTimmy

    Damn. Now you can mock us about this AND fashion.

  2. Unfortunately, I doubt the NFL cares.

    • What’s unfortunate about these situations is that what the NCAA can police is the going forward of these programs. You end up with kids at schools like USC and Alabama and potentially Florida in this case that get hammered by the NCAA that had nothing to do with the wrongdoings.

      • Puffdawg

        If they didn’t police the schools, you’d be giving the Garrett’s and Carroll’s of the world a free pass for sticking their head in the sand. Somebody has got to be responsible at some point and you can’t police coaches and players who no longer fall under the NCAA umbrella. I see where you are coming from and it does suck, but somebody has got to be held responsible or cheating would be (more) rampant. It is undoubtedly a difficult situation.

        • “Difficult situation” is a good way to put it. I can definitely see where Audit is coming from here, but there aren’t a whole lot of great options here.

          • At least not that are feasible. I’d love to see the NFL get involved here, as it is in the proper situation to be a key player here in terms of policing agents and players that desire to get into the league. The problem is that they probably don’t see it as being in their interests to do so and will continue to leave it up the NCAA to take care of.

            • Go Dawgs!

              Well, you know, it’s a similar situation to having a tree in your backyard that falls and destroys your next-door neighbor’s garage. Sure, it’s his garage and it happened on his property, but it’s your tree, so it really should be your responsibility to get it taken care of whether the law says so or not. The NFL has typically been a good neighbor to college football, but right now their money’s a big tree in the yard, and agents are falling out of the tree and busting up the stuff in our yard. I’m not sure what the NFL should do, but they need to get together and figure something out.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                NCAA football is the NFL’s minor leagues. If the NCAA says to the NFL :”If you do not help us clean this up we will no longer cooperate with you and serve as your farm system,” the NFL will take action.

              • SSB Charley

                Heh. I have a small claims trial today on this very issue. Trees falling, not the NFL and agents, that is.

    • Chuck

      They may not care, but they should. Why? Right now they have a helluva minor league training ground to cull from at no cost to them. If they have to start developing there own players, bottom lines are going to take a hit. I am not saying that anything is happening today or tomorrow, but if they don’t get a little bit of a handle on this sort of thing, eventually it could kill college football as we know it.

  3. Sarah

    “the NFL and the NFLPA are going to have to step up, assuming it matters to them.”*

    and issue a joint statement to refudiate.

    *(not much because it is conveniently relegated to a law enforcement matter that does not involve the NFL or the NFLPA and only involves their NFL Feeder Program teams if a player not eligible for the NFL Draft is involved)

  4. mb

    Based on what Paul Dee (Chairman of COI) said about the 2 year bowl ban for USC (bowl ban equals the numbers of bowl games played by an inelegible player), Florida should be getting an automatic 1 yr bowl ban.

    Won’t happen but it will be interesting to see how Paul Dee spins it….he is a Gator grad.

  5. Go Dawgs!

    * Programming note: set your DVR, because this is the only time that I’ll ever say this *

    I actually feel a little bad for Florida on this one, if true. First off, they’re doing the right thing unlike what Southern Cal did. USC swept it all under the rug and ran a three or four year campaign of denials. Florida’s taking this on head-on.

    It’s got to suck to get in trouble because of a slimy agent sniffing around your athletes and tossing sums of money at them which must be incredibly difficult to resist as a 20-year old or 21-year old. Heck, $100K is impossible to resist as a fully grown man.

    That said, schools have to do a better job of educating players about what they can and can’t do with agents, particularly in that dangerous December period between the regular season and the bowl games, after which draft-bound players become fair game. Florida had to do a better job making sure this kid wouldn’t take the money, and would report the activity instead. The NFL’s not going to police this. Many states have laws that make it a criminal act for the agents. It’s up to the schools, though, to make sure that the kids don’t do it, and that they’re recruiting players who will follow the rules. Still, I could see this sort of thing happen to us, too, so I won’t cast too many stones down Gainesville way. But that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy their unhappiness.

    • Airplanebottles

      Pecisely. School and coaches DO have responsibility for a
      player taking agent money before the player’s eligibility expires. As the NCAA has no authority over agents and players departing school, putting it on the schools is the only means. Schools would get serious about seminars for players and if it’s explained as an infraction that hurts the program and teammates the player leaves behind, maybe they can muster the will to keep the dirtbags ay bay until after their final game.

    • rbubp

      “USC swept it all under the rug and ran a three or four year campaign of denials.”

      But wait a minute…Bobby Knight said the NCAA were a bunch of buffoons for taking so long. You think…the COACH and the AD might have played a role in that?

      Heresy, I say.

  6. 69Dawg

    The “next” article on the one linked was by a Travis Duncan who has to be the dumbest MF I’ve ever read. His take is that some competitor of UF has done this to them and that ESPN has always been out to get Tebow and Urban. ESPN has had their heads so far up Tebow’s and Urban’s butts that they can see their tonsils. This guy is just crazy.

    UF is trying to do the right thing here and I think they will be ok. This didn’t happen all during his playing days like Bush, it was at the very end. What’s a team going to do that close to the end of a guys playing days to find out about it?

  7. 69Dawg

    Question not a Flame but does this cast a shadow over the brother that is still playing for UF?? How is this alleged agent not making points with the brother through this act? It’s a weird situation but the NCAA is a weird group.

    • Bulldog Bry

      Actually, that’s the first thing I thought of. And I bet the agent was thinking along those lines as well.
      “How can I get to both of them”.
      I sincerely hope Pouncey #2 steered clear of all this.

  8. Macallanlover

    There is a difference here, the USC violations took place throughout Bush’s college career and should have been handled firmly by the NCAA with sanctions; the Florida issue happened after the season to a player who was going pro. Once the championship games are over, I feel the NCAA has no control over an athlete that is willing to give up his amateur status.

    Slightly off topic to this, but I also feel redshirt players should be allowed to participate in the bowl games. The bowls are not a part of any sanctioned NCAA playoff, so the exhibition game is just another “practice” that takes place after the season (similar to Spring games.) Those players have gone through summer practices in the heat, been beaten on all during the fall season, and never had a moment’s glory. Why not reward them in a meaningless game on national TV? Great chance for some players who will play a significant role in next year’s fortunes to get a little test under fire. (Sure would have liked to have seen Murray for a quarter in the A&M game, and it would have made fan attendance perkier.)

    • Go Dawgs!

      It sure would have made me feel better about not being able to feel my hands that night…

  9. JC in Powder Springs

    It wouldn’t bother me at all if the gators got in trouble with the ncaa (on this or anything else). But if pouncey & his agent causes the school to vacate a bowl win, I’d have the school’s attornies putting together charges – first to recoup damages, and second to show players that the school is serious about cracking down on infractions. In this case #2 is easy because the player has moved on to the NFL and they don’t lose somebody on scholarship.

  10. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    This occurs because top-quality players aren’t paid market-value for their talents by colleges and universities.

    • Dog in Fla

      That’s what Billy Hawkins says.

      http://www.race-talk.org/?p=4852

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Let me say at the outset that I agree with everything Prof. Hawkins says as reported by Dr. Watkins in the link above except for one thing–that racism is involved. This system has existed for many tears. Long before black players played in the SEC, indeed long before black players played in a major college game anywhere either in football or basketball, student athletes were being exploited by universities to make money. The argument was that they got a free education but that was BS. Often student athletes did not even pursue a real course of study, taking only the initial required courses and after that only the easiest electives. The problem (a legitimate issue) goes to the very heart of major college sports. When the schools get into a contest to get the best players to come to their university as opposed to another, and have to give something to get the player to go there, the door is opened for abuse on both sides (see Bush, Reggie). We have come far (some might say too far) down the road from what college athletics was supposed to be all about–competition between student athletes. I favor and have favored for over 30 years the system that is in place at D-III, i.e. no athletic scholarships, with players on campus trying out like we did in high school. Use the money generated by the sports programs for need based scholarships and academic grants. Can a coach recruit? Yes, by talking up the merits of his team and school. Could a player get the need based scholarship or academic grant? Sure, but there could be no connection between the $ and playing ball. If there was such a connection the NCAA would impose the death penalty on the program. What would this do to D-IA football as we know it? I think nothing except that the players who really do not want to go to college (or shouldn’t be there in the first place because of academic issues) would not be there. The kids who would normally go to college who were good players in HS would still go to college and would still play college ball just like they did in HS. The Da’Rick Rogers of the world would be in professional minor league football programs until the GM of the team decided that the player was more trouble than he was worth and then he would be on the street and (gasp!) he would have to get a real job. Does the present system exploit student athletes? You bet it does. Is the cure I am proposing any better? Plenty of people would say what I am advocating is worse, because the players only would get the same education as a regular student and no other compensation at all. But isn’t that what competition between students is supposed to be all about? The alternative is to simply pay the players like the NFL. Frankly, I favor that to the hypocrisy currently being practiced in major college athletics. Either go back to old time religion or pay the kids to play.

  11. LRGK

    Alabama State Legislature has the right idea. Make it a crime, a felony, and remove te Agents license in the state. Prosecute the agents.

    State of Georgia ought to follow suit as well as all the SEC states.

  12. anon

    What about those Orlando Magic playoff tickets that St. Timothy got last year?