Nick Saban doesn’t want aspiring sports agents playing headgames with college football players. That’s his job. Saban was quoted in a press conference yesterday on the subject of sports agents encroaching on college athletics, spouting, “How are they any better than a pimp?” Predicate-verb disagreement notwithstanding, Saban has made his point.
It’s not uncommon for an aspiring agent to peruse the college ranks for fresh talent to represent at the next level. In fact, it’s almost mandatory for getting one’s foot in the door. Unproven agents start with unproven clients and, hopefully, work their way up the food chain to regular starters, All-Pros and Super Bowl champions. Most of them act ethically. It’s like any other business, but try telling that to the NCAA.
The central governing body of college sports goes to great lengths to keep its fiefdom unperturbed. The restrictions placed on “student-athletes” in this day and age are, for lack of a better word, insane. An agent and a player can’t so much as visit the same restroom stall within a week of each other without drawing the ire of the NCAA (exaggerating there…slightly). Maintaining such a facade of amateurism involves a lot of tough talk and a lot of man hours from NCAA compliance personnel, the latter of whom have their salaries paid by the athletes earning little tangible gain of their own.
Whether you think that college athletes should be paid outright for their services, it’s impossible to deny that they provide value to their schools. But the price for that service is set at one (1) college scholarship, and most people involved in the transaction seem happy with that, even if that’s way below “market value” for a select few.
I put that in quotes because, well, there is no market for college-aged talent. Aspiring pros can’t join the NFL until they’ve been out of high school for three years, so it’s BCS or bust. It’s hard to blame a guy for wanting to take $100,000 from an agent. Whether it’s against the rules or not, the fact is that a guy like Maurkice Pouncey is worth it.
It’s sick to think of Saban shaming another human being for “greed.” Almost. Saban bolted out of LSU for the NFL, where he stayed all of two years (less of a commitment than he’d ask for any of his younger, less mature recruits) before signing what might have been the most lucrative college football coaching contract ever.
But all you’ll hear of this is Hurrdy derp derp! Nick Saban said “pimp!” No. Nick Saban IS the pimp. The NCAA IS the pimp. Saban sees opposition reaching out for his b*tches, and he doesn’t like it. And while the sports world will praise this as Saban’s plea to maintain the idealistic virtues of his game, this isn’t anything more than silly rhetoric from another hustler trying to keep the competition off his block.