An interesting story broke on Tuesday afternoon, when we learned that former agent Josh Luchs, whom I had never heard of, admitted paying college football players so that they would sign with him.
It didn’t always work. Some players took the money and didn’t sign. Others never accepted his advances…with Luchs assuming that they must have been getting more from someone else if they didn’t take his money.
This is only a story because Luchs admitted that he was a slimeball agent. Are we really surprised to find out that an agent gave college players a bunch of money? I wasn’t. In fact, the only surprise from the article for me was the quality of player that Luchs chose to give money to. Sean LaChapelle? Tony Banks? Really?
With what has happened just over the last several years, this is a blip. Reggie Bush was one of the top players in college football, and allegedly received benefits from prospective agents, including a house for his parents. Players from Alabama and Florida were accused of taking money from agents earlier this season. And North Carolina removed three top-level players from their roster on the day before the Luchs story broke in Sports Illustrated.
There are two takes on this for me. First, how the NCAA and BCS administrators can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning is beyond me. College sports generates BILLIONS of dollars for its institutions and administrators, but doesn’t offer a reasonable stipend to students. A poor kid can’t afford to do his laundry and then go out and get a pizza and soda later in that week. Not that a stipend would stop agents from paying players, but at least the NCAA wouldn’t look so selfish.
Secondly, the college football industry hasn’t been too happy with the NFL lately. But, the NFL can get back into college football’s good graces very easily – if they implement an NBA style rookie salary scale. As an example, the first pick in the NBA draft knows he’s going to get a first contract of roughly $9 million over three years. There is no negotiation. All a player needs to do is hire an attorney to look over the paperwork, but the money is going to be the same.
If an NFL agent is going to get a maximum of $270,000 for getting the FIRST pick, it’s not going to be worth as much to pay players. If you do and get caught, you can be suspended by the NFLPA. Additionally, the big agencies can handle the marketing and outside interests that top picks crave, leaving the Josh Luchs’ of the world on the outside looking in.
The people that can solve college football’s problem are involved in pro football. College players getting paid by agents goes by the wayside if there’s a rookie salary scale.