High-powered names litter panel addressing agent issue

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In an effort to extinguish — or at least get under control — an agent/runner/marketer fire that’s burned hot for several months now, a committee has been formed  that will looking into solving the riddle of improper agent activity involving football players.

According to a press release issued by the NCAA, key representatives from the NCAA staff, its member schools, Collegiate Commissioners Association, NFL, NFL Players Association, American Football Coaches Association, state government and the agent community met last week in an ongoing effort to combat rogue agents and those associated with them.

On the collegiate side, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and his SEC counterpart Mike Slive were among the 20-plus power brokers in attendance at the meeting, and are expected to be heavily involved as the committee moves forward.

Here’s the complete list of participants:

• Ray Anderson, NFL, Executive Vice President of Football Operations • Ron Hill, NFL, Vice President of Football Operations• Merton Hanks, NFL, Director of Football Operations• Rich McKay, President, Atlanta Falcons• Bill Polian, President, Indianapolis Colts• Arthur McAfee, NFL Players Association, Counsel• James Guidry, NFL Players Association, Collegiate Affairs Manager• Grant Teaff, American Football Coaches Association, Executive Director• Greg Sankey, Associate Commissioner, Southeastern Conference• Jeff Hawkins, University of Oregon, Director of Football Operations• Mike Powell, Texas Secretary of State Office, Managing Attorney• James Sexton, agent, Athletic Resource Management• Fletcher Smith, agent, Blueprint Sports Group• Rick Smith, agent, Priority Sports & Entertainment• Rachel Newman Baker, NCAA, Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism• Scott Bearby, NCAA, Interim Vice President of Legal Affairs/General Counsel• David Berst, NCAA, Vice President for Division I Governance• Dennis Poppe, NCAA, Vice President for Baseball and Football• David Price, NCAA, Vice President of Enforcement• Naima Stevenson, NCAA, Director of Legal Affairs/Assistant General Counsel

The next scheduled meeting of the group will take place next month.  According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, one point of discussion is using post-NCAA fines and/or suspensions of players who have been found to have received impermissible benefits while in college.

If found to have received benefits while in college, players could face an NFL suspension of upwards of eight games if the measure currently being discussed is enacted.  Whether the NFLPA will be in lockstep agreement with this particular tack remains to be seen.

Also remaining to be seen is whether post-NCAA suspensions would have any significant impact on curbing illicit player-agent activities, although it would certainly be more effective than what’s going on now.  The wide-spread scandal involving the North Carolina football program has clearly shown that a different approach is needed.

In addition to players facing post-NCAA punishments, the committee will also look into penalizing agents who have been found to be involved in the giving of impermissible benefits.