Rachel Bachman’s look at issues, trends and people behind the games
UO director of football operations Jeff Hawkins sits on a national committee — with leaders at the NCAA, NFL, NFLPA and American Football Coaches Association — that aims to reform regulations governing agents and urge stronger enforcement.
Locally, Hawkins also has worked with Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, on Senate Bill 5, which would sharpen and strengthen current laws regarding sports agents. That bill, drafted in advance of the Legislative session beginning Tuesday, is expected to get a hearing in the Senate Education Committee in mid-February.
But the real key to regulating agents, advocates say, is actual punishment. Though many states have laws governing agents, few have prosecuted them.
“One of the biggest problems is finances,” Hawkins said.
While Oregonians wait to see whether the bill passes, and if prosecutors put it to use, here are a few extras from my interview with Luchs that didn’t make the print edition:
Oregonian: To clear your name in a dispute with another agent, essentially you had to confess to breaking rules and laws.
Luchs: Breaking today’s laws, that were not in effect at the time. What I was doing was against the rules, no doubt. That makes it wrong, and I concede that. But I was never a lawbreaker.
One of the things I found most amusing about the aftermath of my story was the series of self-serving stories that were written, and comments and quotes from certain agents trying to lift themselves above the fray.
Oregonian: Do you feel like you’re a pariah now?
Luchs: I think every agent sees every other agent as a pariah. No agent’s coming to my house before I did the article, and they sure as hell ain’t coming to my house for dinner afterwards.
Oregonian: An interesting point you make in the story is that many of the players you represented came from poor families, and that the NCAA was making money off of them. Given that, do you feel like paying players was wrong?
Luchs: It was against the rules, so by virtue of that it was wrong. But ethically, I didn’t think it was wrong.
Oregonian: When you were an agent, how did you decide which players to pursue?
Luchs: Watch a lot of games. Much like dating, being geographically desirable is a key. You want to make certain that, if I’m going to spend $1,000 on (travel to pursue a player), how many times can I see that guy for $1,000?
You can get more for your money by focusing on guys that play in your backyard or are from your backyard. Cause they do come home for the holidays, and other people of influence are from there.