SportsBusiness Journal reported Monday that the NCAA issued letters to 20-30 agents in late August that read in part, “Your full cooperation with our inquiry is expected by the NFLPA.”
In August, after UA defensive end Marcell Dareus was among several prominent college players investigated for improper contact with agents, Saban initiated a series of conference calls that brought together representatives from the NFL, the NFLPA and the NCAA, as well as agents and college coaches in an effort to bring about reform. Saban did not comment on whether the NFLPA’s letter to agents was a product of those conference calls.
“I do think it’s a step in the right direction. I think it shows that there is some unified effort with the NCAA, the coaches association, the NFLPA and the NFL to try to create some solutions to something that has become a problem,” Saban said. “Any time you have this many good players suspended for two to four or however many games, it’s not good for college football, it’s not good for pro football, it’s not good for the players and it’s not really good for anything.
“It is a step in the right direction and hopefully we’ll continue to work to have a good group of people putting their heads together to try to figure out other ways that we can come up with even better solutions.”
NCAA rules prohibit athletes from receiving anything of value from sports agents, and criminal statutes that vary by state prohibit agents from inducing the players. Neither deterrent has proven sufficient, and Saban has said he would prefer to see more stringent penalties placed on both agents and players.
Dareus was given a two-game suspension by the NCAA and repaid nearly $1,800 to charity as a condition of reinstatement.
The NCAA lacks the authority to take punitive action against agents, but the NFLPA does. Agents must be certified in order to sign NFL players, and certification is processed through the NFLPA.
Sports agents voiced criticism of the policy in the story, which can be found online at sportsbusinessjournal.com, but declined to be identified for fear of retribution. The publication obtained a letter from attorney David Cornwell, who has represented both agents and players, to the NFLPA. That letter read in part: “… it seems inconsistent that the NFLPA would act as the NCAA¹s agent or otherwise assist the NCAA in the enforcement of rules that may derail the aspirations of future NFL players.”
McElroy tops in efficiency
Official NCAA statistics place UA quarterback Greg McElroy as the top-rated passer in the nation for pass efficiency through three games. McElroy’s pass efficiency rating, which is compiled based on a variety of factors including completion percentage, interceptions and touchdowns, is 200.03.
“I don’t know how it’s computed (but) I know my goal each week is to be above 145,” said McElroy. “Thus far this season I’m three for three, so as long as I continue to keep that going for the team. I know that’s a team goal – I know a lot of people look at it as a quarterback barometer, but really if the wide receivers aren’t getting open, if the offensive line isn’t protecting me and makes me throw balls away and force throws, my QB efficiency will decrease dramatically, so it’s a team goal.”
McElroy has completed 71 percent of his passes this season with six touchdowns and one interception.
Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram declined comment Monday on former Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush’s decision to give up his Heisman award in the wake of his role in USC’s NCAA probation. Ingram won the award in December after a record-breaking season for the Crimson Tide. … Saban issued well wishes to Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who was a member of Saban’s staff when he coached the Spartans in the late 1990s. Dantonio had a mild heart attack following MSU’s win over Notre Dame Saturday. … The UA coaching staff selected eight players for weekly honors following the win over Duke, including four on offense: Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Chance Warmack and Darius Hanks. Defensively, linebacker’s Dont’a Hightower and Nico Johnson were recognized, along with Wes Neighbors and Trent Richardson on special teams. … The Alabama-Florida game on Oct. 2 will be broadcast by CBS at 7 p.m. as the trailing game in a doubleheader. LSU and Tennessee will play the front end of the doubleheader. … UA linebacker Jerrell Harris practiced with outside linebackers on Monday after spending practice time at the inside position since the season began. Harris has experience at both. … Defensive end Luther Davis practiced Monday despite an ankle sprain sustained in UA’s 62-13 win over Duke.