Saban right to criticize NFL about lack of involvement when it comes to agents

Jan 5, 2010; Newport Beach, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban at the 2010 BCS National Championship media day at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Photo via Newscom

Nick Saban just served the National Football League a warning: Either help us clean up or you totally can’t come over anymore.

According to a report by ESPN.com, University of Alabama officials are investigating whether junior defensive lineman Marcel Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending an agent’s party in South Beach earlier this summer. Apparently the investigation goes beyond Dareus’ involvement, as players from North Carolina (including defensive end Marvin Austin) and South Carolina (including tight end Weslye Saunders) are also being investigated about the same party.

Saban, who realizes that the athletes aren’t responsible enough to turn down offers from agents and that the universities can’t play babysitter to every player, wants to know what Roger Goodell and the NFL will do to help the growing problem.

“What the NFL Players Association and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes ineligibility for a player, they should suspend his [agent’s] license for a year or two,” Saban said. “I’m about ready for college football to say, ‘Let’s just throw the NFL out. Don’t let them evaluate players. Don’t let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.’ If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?”

Great point. The NFL only cares about one thing: the NFL. But the league needs to remember where all of its talent is coming from. Saban and his staff at Alabama are known for being one of the more accommodating programs in the nation when it comes to giving pro scouts access to their players. Maybe if they too are affected by the situation, the NFL will actually spring into action.

“Right now, agents are screwing it up,” Saban said. “They are taking the eligibility of players. It’s not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else.”

Again, Saban is right. The football programs and the athletes are the only ones being hurt in these situations, which is why the NFL has yet to do anything about it. Some might point out that it’s not the NFL’s responsibility to monitor what agents do. To that I call shenanigans. You’re telling me that the king dicks of the sports world can’t do something about agents who clearly have a disregard for rules when it comes to recruiting players as clients? I’m not buying that – I don’t care how much you’re selling it for.

Maybe Saban should be the first one to step up and ban NFL scouts from his campus. It won’t hurt the players much because talent always wins out in the end. (If a player is good, the NFL knows about it.) The only thing it might do is get the NFL to look down from its ivory tower and help the NCAA for once.

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