Originally Posted by paintmered
But how do you fix the problem short of holding the players and their families under house arrest? The agents aren't breaking any laws and aren't governed by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Now with runners doing the agent's work for them, catching this is like uncovering a drug ring, expect the runners operate at an even more tactical level. The resources required to truly counter these efforts could probably fund another 1000 scholarships.
Technically what the agents and the athletes are doing aren't illegal. But there are many things that you aren't illegal, but could cause you to lose your job. If the company has a policy where you can't have a relationship with another co worker, you can't have an affair with the secretary. There are laws and then there are policies.
What the NCAA and NFLPA need to go is get together and find a way to punish agents who give money to student athletes. I would even offer a reward to a college athlete to turn in a rogue agent. If an agent, or his runner, or anyone associate with the agent is caught giving money to a student, they automatically lose their certification for a year. If they are caught doing it again they are banned.
I would also offer a cash reward to any student who turns in an agent. If an agent is going to give you a couple of grand that would be pretty hard to turn down as a college kid. But if the NCAA is going to give you a reward for turning in an unscrupulous agent then it may just be worth it.
Perhaps the best way to combat this is to create a viable, alternative path for kids to make money immediately. Create real minor league systems in the NBA and NFL (the D-league doesn't count) and give the kid the choice of entering upon high school or attending school under scholarship for at least three years. It won't prevent college freaks like Steven Strasburg from improper agent interaction, but it should make it less common. Pay the kids who want paid, and teach the kids who want an education.
I really doubt if a minor league NFL system would work. Where would the money come from? Who would want to invest in a a minor league team? What day would it play on? And how many teams would you have?
A minor league team isn't going to play on Sat because of the NFL and NCAA's agreement on playing dates. It could play on a Fri but then you are combating yourself against high school football. So lets say you have a minor league team playing on Wed nights, who is going to attend that game? And how are you going to make money from it?
We have seen "minor league" organizations fail time and time again. There are "minor league" systems in Arena football and the football league that is starting right now. No way would the owners want to financially commit themselves to a minor league system of football. And no business man in his right mind would want to put up the financial backing to own a team.