In the past year, the problem seems to have flared again with agent issues touching football programs at North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
Several North Carolina players sat out the season after it was found that they received thousands of dollars in benefits. One reportedly received between $10,000 to $13,000.
As a result, a coalition of NCAA officials, conference commissioners, the American Football Coaches Association, and representatives of the NFL and NFL Players Association have banded together to try to find better ways to control the situation.
Included is the possibility of post-NCAA penalties that presumably could be administered by the NFL and the players association.
“We really haven’t had a formal discussion on that yet,” said Smith, who is one of three agents in the coalition. “We just have to come up with something that all parties can agree to.”
Rachel Newman Baker, NCAA director of agent, gambling and amateurism activities, said it’s uncertain whether penalties imposed by the NFL would help stem the tide of problems.
“I think that’s something that the NFL and the NFLPA are going to have to discuss or figure out,” Baker said after appearing with Smith in front of delegates at an educational symposium. “I don’t know that it’s fair for me to say, one way or the other. I think we’ve got to figure, ‘What can we do in our own house?’ ”
First-year NCAA president Mark Emmert has made it clear the issue is on the front burner, Baker said.
“I think it’s fair to say that this is on his priority list,” Baker said. “He wants to make sure we’re moving in a direction that’s going to be in benefit to our student-athletes. But I think he’s also about holding these (agents) accountable, as our athletes are being held accountable.”
Smith seemed more optimistic the problem can be addressed more effectively in football than in basketball.
“Basketball will be a lot more difficult because of AAU and things like that,” he said. “The outside third party is getting to the kid a lot younger than he is a football player.
“It’s much easier to kind of point a basketball player out at a young age than it is a football player.”