07/30/10 — Stevens: Agents causing headaches

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Stevens: Agents causing headaches

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 30, 2010 1:46 PM

The list of schools included in the recent accusations involving illegal activity with agents sounded like college football's Top 25.

The problem is the Top 25 hasn't been released yet.

Since this story broke with North Carolina as the first school with players accused of wrong doing, experts all over television have defended players and blasted agents. UNC, South Carolina Alabama, Florida and Georgia -- some of college football's most-elite programs -- have felt the NCAA breathing down their necks in the preseason.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban referred to agents as pimps last week during the Southeastern Conference's media days.

Yes, agents should be severely disciplined and publicly criticized for tempting student-athletes into making decisions that could harm their careers and the college programs they're affiliated with.

However, it takes two people to make a bad decision and agents aren't alone.

North Carolina's Marvin Austin and Greg Little, Alabama's Marcell Dareus, former Florida defensive end Maurkie Pouncey, Georgia receiver A.J. Green and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders have all been linked to agents in recent weeks.

Schools across the country have compliance coordinators who closely monitor the activity of student -athletes.

Saban noted last week that his staff keeps a close eye on the class attendance, off-the-field team chemistry, and mental and spiritual well-being of Alabama's players.

College football players receive a free education, housing, monthly stipends, loads of free athletic apparel and equipment. Not to mention the notoriety that comes with playing on television and being a part of most schools' largest money-making sport.

Yet, somehow turning down cash, gifts or in the case of several of the recently accused athletes, a party in Miami, is becoming increasingly difficult.

Former Ohio State and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter was forced to sit out his senior season in 1987 after accepting money and ultimately signing with agents Lloyd Bloom and Norby Walters.

The argument that college athletes are still "kids" and that it's difficult for 21- or 22-year-old "kids" to avoid the lure of smooth-talking agents and illegal gifts is ridiculous. If these "kids" can't distinguish right from wrong now, then life in the NFL when temptation, women and trouble lurk around every corner could serve as a rude awakening.

If college football players are mature enough to survive while playing a grown man's game on Saturdays in the fall, they should be mature enough to make a grown man's decision and tell an agent to wait.