I know some of you cling to that romantic, Chariots of Fire version of amateurism… you know, because there’s so much British aristocrats and inner city kids have in common. It’s charming, and the NCAA thanks you for your service. The reality, though, is that amateurism at its heart is about control, nothing more and nothing less.
Don’t believe me? Well, check out what Dennis Dodd says Mike Slive’s conference is pondering right now.
We’re being asked to care about, oh, 100 kids. A hundred football players out of 450,000. When you start evaluating the early entries into the NFL Draft, that care factor comes out to .00022 percent of all NCAA athletes.
And, yet what the SEC is thinking about — what all of college football is having to consider — is upheaval. The answer to a record number of undrafted juniors (almost 40 percent) is to allow perhaps more agent interaction.
You can semantically dress it up any way you want. Commissioner Mike Slive here at the SEC spring meetings this week called for a “neutral or selfless” panel “so credible” that its advice to these wayward youths cannot be denied.
Amateurs, we’ve been told over and over, don’t need professional advisors. It’s even codified.
There’s a quiet revolution coming in the next few months. Legislation emerging from autonomy could come as soon as January. The commissioners will have to deal with this issue head-on at some point. It could require changing the NCAA’s decades-old view of improper agent dealings:
Bylaw 12.3.1 reads: You are not eligible in a sport if you ever have accepted money, transportation or other benefits from an agent or agreed to have an agent market your athletics ability …
That was all great until the futile outflow of talent – those juniors may not have been drafted, but that doesn’t mean they were warming the bench in college – turned into a torrent that doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down any time in the near future. At least not without some proper management, right, Mike? And the SEC is here to help, kids.
Slive’s intent is invite “people into the tent,” to provide better career counseling.
“Let’s be more open about it,” he added. “Instead of the separation of it, let’s bring them in as opposed to doing things more covertly.”
The SEC obviously has a stake in the issue. Nick Saban would like the NFL to invite a more realistic number of prospects to the combine. The SEC has had its share of slimy agent issues.
“If you have a student who is incredible at biology, if some petroleum company wants to come hire him, they’ll talk to him as a junior,” Auburn AD Jay Jacobs said. “The challenge that we have, is telling our student-athletes … where they would go in the draft. Whether that is using agents or some other model we’ve got to provide better resources.”
The nobility is touching. I might even believe it on the day when the SEC announces it’s permitting recruits to seek professional representation before signing a letter of intent. Until then, I think I know who is best being served here.