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Publish date: Aug 30, 2010

Football stakeholders seek progress on agent issue

By Greg Johnson

Though the recent debate over agents and student-athletes isn’t just about football, the American Football Coaches Association is keenly aware of how the issue affects the sport.

NCAA staff and representatives of the AFCA, NFL and National Football League Players Association met two weeks ago to discuss shared responsibilities in resolving the issues. It’s the first time all of these entities have met to discuss how to tackle the agent problem.

While the agent issue isn’t necessarily new, agents’ involvement with student-athletes and an increased concern among coaches have brought more attention to the matter this summer.

 “I’ve been dealing with this intensely for the past 25 years,” said Grant Teaff, the executive director of the AFCA and former head coach at Baylor from 1972 to 1992. “It is a complicated issue. But the only one that has any regulatory authority over agents is the NFL Players Association.”

Forty states have laws regarding agents offering benefits to student-athletes before their eligibility is exhausted. Those laws were hoped to be a deterrent, but college football stakeholders are also looking for additional ways to solve the problem.

Teaff believes there is another constituent that can help.

“The student-athletes who play college football can play a role,” Teaff said. “They have a responsibility to know what the rules are and respond positively to those rules. Everybody has a job to fulfill.”

Overall, the AFCA is pleased with the direction the talks with NCAA staff, NFL and NFLPA have taken. While no formal recommendations were developed during the meeting, the group outlined the issues and discussed possible solutions. They also agreed to hold an in-person meeting in the near continue those talks.

Secondary violations

Another area of concern for the AFCA Ethics Committee, which is chaired by Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, centers on secondary rules violations.

Teaff said the committee has met with NCAA staff on a couple of occasions this year to discuss ways the AFCA can be made aware of how many secondary NCAA rules violations a coaching staff has committed.

Many coached believe the penalties for secondary rules violations aren’t strong enough to deter some in the profession for looking for an edge in recruiting.

“It is important for a coach to watch the way he does his business,” Teaff said. “After all, what players see, hear and recognize in the way their coaches do business can affect the way they end up later in life. Our game should be a great teacher of life to those who play it at all levels. As coaches, we want to teach to do things the right way.”