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In the wake of the news that the NCAA is investigating South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders...

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Agents

In the wake of the news that the NCAA is investigating South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about possible impermissible dealings with a sports agent, Gentry Estes makes a great point. You don't necessarily have to pull a USC and just completely ignore anything and everything for things like this to happen. The truth of the matter is that a lot of these "amateur" college athletes are in fact worth millions (and some tens of millions) in future earnings, and thus the economic incentives align for impermissible contact and benefits. And, of course, for many college players -- a significant percentage of which have known nothing but abject poverty -- it's a hard proposition to turn down, regardless of the potential consequences if you or your program gets caught. In reality, situations like we've seen with Reggie Bush and Dez Bryant are on some level inevitabilities. For Alabama, I'm afraid it's a sobering reality. We've gotten in serious trouble regarding agents before -- see Antonio Langham -- and we had another agent issue about eighteen months ago with Andre Smith. It's no grand secret that right now we have an ungodly collection of talent in Tuscaloosa, including several certain-to-be first round draft picks (Julio, Barron, Hightower, Ingram, Richardson, Dareus, etc.), so the economic incentives are certainly present. All we can do is hope that our players will say no and that we will be eternally vigilant on compliance.

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