Alabama football coach Nick Saban was part of an impressive panel assembled by ESPN that discussed issues facing college athletes/athletics. One of the subjects they tackled was “outside influences,” which has become a serious problem in college sports.
Over the past year, the name Kenny Rogers became public because he supposedly was representing Cam Newton in negotiations. Similarly, Willie Lyles has gotten schools in trouble for selling them expensive recruiting packages. That’s appeared to be compensation for delivering commitments from high school players. Saban would like to cut these third-party “representatives” (read: street agents) out of the picture.
“If the third party has influence over the player, then you won’t have an opportunity to recruit the player,” Saban said on the forum. “A lot of extra benefits get circumvented toward that third-party person. In most cases where there’s some extra benefit case, it’s the third-party person who is trying to shop the kid. It’s a really bad thing. I would rather not deal with those kinds of folks.”
While that is a nice ideal, it is so much easier said than done. The big problem is that many high school athletes don’t have parents equipped to help them. They end up looking to outsiders for advice. Either that, or the “street agents” get inside the head of parents and promise them a cut of the money they’ll receive from schools. It’s unrealistic, but it would be nice if high schoolers kept their circles tight and made their own decisions — ones for which nobody is compensated.