Progress afoot on issue of rogue agents;More talks due next week

NCAA, NFL and other officials

working to slow the activity of unscrupulous agents in

football will talk again next week

and are close to handing down recommendations that would really

make a difference, an

NCAA director said Wednesday.

“We continue to move this forward at a very rapid pace,” said

Rachael Newman Baker, who oversees agent, gambling and amateurism

activities for the Indianapolis-based association. She declined,

however, to indicate the direction the panel might take.

It will meet via teleconference Monday. Representatives from the

NCAA, NFL, NFL Players Association



football coaches association will

take part along with conference commissioners, state governmental

officials and agents.

Newman Baker said they’re tweaking a plan of attack. “I would

highly doubt if we get full consensus and we’re ready to come out

Monday and say, ‘Here you go,’ ” she said. “I could envision one

more call or in-person meeting before we get to that point.

“We want to get it right. However long it takes to get where we

feel everyone is comfortable and we’ve got some recommendations we

think will really make a difference, we’re going to take.”


football coaches are calling for the

NFLPA — the players union — and state governments to hit wayward

agents with tougher penalties. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

maintained this week that “I don’t think it is going to fall on any

single body, and I would include the


In Washington, at least one congressman is watching. In 2004,

Rep. Bart Gordon, D.-Tenn., and then-Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., now

athletics director at Nebraska, co-sponsored the Sports Agent

Responsibility and Trust Act (SPARTA), under which the attorney

general of any state can prosecute agents for ethics


Gordon said Wednesday that SPARTA had not been used as

forcefully as it needed to be and called on officials at a school

affected by agents to go to the attorney general in their state

with evidence of lawbreaking.

“If schools aren’t going to be proactive, the attorney general

is not going to go on a fishing expedition,” Gordon said. If the

school fears

NCAA sanctions, Gordon said the

NCAA should give it a “get out of

jail free” card for working to alleviate the problem.

“This issue gets hot periodically, and that’s when you have to

act,” he said.

The latest deliberations come as the agent issue grows ever

hotter. In a first-person account in this week’s Sports

Illustrated, former agent Josh Luchs names more than 30 former

college players he says accepted

money while they were in school in the early to mid-1990s. Some

players confirmed his claims to the magazine; others denied them or

declined to respond.


NCAA investigations and player

suspensions and dismissals have touched major-


football programs from Alabama to

Georgia to North Carolina.

Two permanent

NCAA boards, its Division I

Leadership Council and Division I Amateurism Cabinet, also are

addressing the issue, spurred in part by calls from such prominent

coaches as Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida’s Urban Meyer.

“We have to continue to work at this,” said Grant Teaff,

executive director of the American

Football Coaches Association. “Most

issues are not resolved overnight, and this is one with a long

history and lack of control.”

Meanwhile, Florida coach Billy Donovan pointed to similar

problems in men’s basketball. “I’d say it’s about as bad. … It’s

amazing,” he said. “I think there’s greater awareness out there,

but it’s something that’s been going on for a long, long time.”

At least one basketball official said a similar collaborate

strike at illicit agents in that sport could grow out of the

football effort — if it yields



football is successful,” said Jim

Haney, who heads the National Association of Basketball Coaches,

“the natural thing is to say to basketball, ‘Well, how come you

guys aren’t doing it? …

“If we can help solve some of these problems that have scarred

football in the last months, should

we not do the same thing in basketball? Is it not in our best

interest to do so?’ In my mind, the answer would be yes.”

Contributing: David Jones of Florida Today