USC Will Bring New AD To UH Opener
Friday - July 28, 2010
USC’s decision to replace athletic director Mike Garrett with former USC star and Rhodes scholar Pat Haden - over Garret’s handling of the improprieties concerning Reggie Bush - is an excellent hire. Haden is an attorney and respected businessman, and is well known through his work as a college football analyst. And he has the ability to deal with the media that Garrett lacked.
It looks like the laissez faire attitude that gave USC football coaches a free hand has come to an end. It will be interesting to see how that works for new head coach Lane Kiffin, who is accustomed to having unquestioned authority, and whose first year at Tennessee generated a ton of NCAA scrutiny.
You can bet Kiffin is anxious to swap the albatross around his neck for a coaches whistle. He won’t have very long to wait till the Trojans open against Hawaii at Aloha Stadium Sept. 2.
* You might reasonably expect that the SEC media days would have featured a focus on Alabama’s chances of repeating as national champions with their returning Heisman trophy winner, and spirited talks from other coaches about their plans to supplant the Crimson Tide as conference champions.
And usually there’s a lot of chatter about the supremacy of the SEC and the difficulties inherent in competing in it.
Not this year. This time it was all about the new scourge of college athletics - the player agent.
There was a time not long ago when the people who schools had to worry about were out-of-control boosters. They often provided cars, apartments, lucrative no-show jobs and spending money to star players.
Now it is player-agents who have taken center stage in the villain role. They have more self-interest in providing benefits to players than boosters because they’re hoping to represent them during their pro careers. In most cases it’s more of an advance on future earning than an outright gift.
In the mind of Nick Saban, Alabama’s $4 million-per-year head coach, “I don’t think it’s anything but greed that’s creating it right now on behalf of the agents. I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp?”
Considering that many athletes come from impoverished backgrounds, the breast beating from millionaire coaches apparently doesn’t hold much weight in keeping players from succumbing to the blandishments of predatory agents. Currently, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia are conducting investigations related to inappropriate contact between players and agents. Florida lineman Maurice Pouncey, a recent first round draft pick, is accused of accepting $100,000 from an agent in the month between the SEC championship game and the Sugar Bowl.
Others apparently took free travel and accommodations to a glitzy South Beach party allegedly hosted by an agent at the home of 49ers running back Frank Gore.
Bottom line: Unless the NFL players union, which regulate agents, can be convinced to act against the rogue element in the business, college football faces a problem that has no easy solution.
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