Savage was charged in 2008 with failing to register as a sports agent in Alabama, a felony. That stemmed from the allegation that Savage tried to land the business of a University of Alabama football star three years earlier, while the player was still in college.
In a plea agreement last week, Savage pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of “attempting to fail to register” as an agent, a misdemeanor. He was given a year’s probation and barred from ever being an agent in Alabama.
Speaking publicly on the case for the first time this week, Savage predicts that his business — severely damaged by the charges — will re-emerge. “I’m just happy to get this behind me so that I can move forward,” he said. “I’ll get back. I’m a survivor.”
Savage says he “lost a ton of money on this,” saying he’s out $600,000 on the case in lost business and attorney fees over the past three years.
Following the charges, Savage said, he shifted his football-playing clients to a longtime business partner from Maryland. While that man is the “agent of record,” Savage said he still provides consulting and management services to the players. He let his agent license lapse because of the charges, but will apply in December for renewal in 2012.
He continues to maintain his innocence. Prosecutors asserted that Savage sent an employee to visit Alabama football star Tyrone Prothro in his hospital room following a severe October 2005 leg injury — with the hopes of landing future business.
Savage contends that his employee, who had relatives in Alabama, visited the hospital room — and dropped off brochures — because he knew someone who was similarly injured. That decision, Savage maintains, was the employee’s alone.
“I gave him a tongue lashing when I found out he did that,” Savage said. “He should have manned up and took the blame for what he did … They put pressure on him, and he blamed me.”
The employee could not be reached for comment Friday. His Alabama attorney did not immediately return a phone call to determine the status of the charges against him.
Another initial charge against Savage — the misdemeanor charge of seeking the business of a college football player — was dismissed in 2009 on statute of limitations grounds.