A Symbolic and Hollow Gesture

The other half of the Teague Egan ruling by the NFLPA is the suspension of NFL agent Gary Wichard.

You may recall that Wichard had former UNC assistant coach John Blake on the payroll of his Pro-Tect Management firm. Blake, know as "black Santa" thought the college ranks for years allegedly steered players Wichard's way for him to sign.

Wichard's and Blake's actions directly affected the eligibility of UNC DT Marvin Austin. Austin isn't some innocent victim here but the actions of Wichard and Blake are as bad as it gets.

The obvious conflict of interest here is staggering...

Wichard had been under investigation by the NFLPA since a series of Yahoo! Sports reports linked his agency – Pro Tect Management – to both Austin and former UNC assistant coach John Blake. Those reports included financial ties between Wichard and Blake, as well as a hotel receipt which listed both Austin and Pro Tect Management under the guest information at a Southern California hotel in August of 2009. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Wichard repeatedly denied having improper contact with Austin. But a source with knowledge of the NFLPA’s investigation said documents refuted that claim, and that Wichard and Austin had "repeated" improper contacts during the player’s time at North Carolina.

The fox wasn't just guarding the hen house...he is living in it with free reign to pick and choose as he sees fit!

Business is all about relationships. I live it everyday. it isn't always about the product or service but more about the level of trust that is built up between the two parties. Agents have been targeting top players for years. It didn't just start with Reggie Bush so Wichard having an "in" through Blake is old news.

Everbody has an "in" with someone, somewhere.

But here is where the story takes a turn...

The NFLPA’s statement said Wichard’s nine-month suspension was due to the agent "having impermissible communication with University of North Carolina player Marvin Austin at a time Austin was not eligible for the NFL Draft under the NFL/NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement." The statement said Wichard agreed to the suspension and waived his right to an appeal.

Wichard was only suspended nine-months?

From the linked story no fine appears to be levied against Wichard either.

The problem here is obvious...

Once again the NCAA is toothless and powerless against outside forces damaging their brand.

Just like with hoops the NCAA is getting its pocket picked by pro's.

Wichard gets to sit back for nine-months and collect fees and interest from his already signed players. He may miss a cycle in signing new players with this years draft but he will be back in business in 2012.

The NFLPA really isn't concerned with partnering with the NCAA to punish rogue agents, would-be agents or otherwise. They are more concerned about getting more dues paying members into their union. That is why I said earlier this year that the NFLPA would NEVER back any proposal that would fine and/or punish players who were found to be guilty of taking extra benefits that affect said players former schools ability to compete for the post season or have their level of scholarships reduced because of major infractions.

That is why this ruling is symbolic and hollow.

It may help the NFLPA sleep better at night but it really does nothing to combat the problem.

Do you honestly think the NFLPA would punish Cam Newton if he is found to have taken money?

Heck no!

Newton is gone as soon as he plays his last snap. Even if he wanted to stay his reputation is far too tainted to risk being found ineligible. That story is far from over and by the time the whole truth is known Cam will have signed a huge contract that the NFLPA will be more than happy to get a cut of in the form of dues.

And that doesn't even take into account the amount of money that NFL properties will make if Newton becomes the next hot thing!

I am no fan of the NCAA but at what point will they finally set up some rules that actually protect their member institutions no matter how big or how small to try and combat this silliness.

People on the boards say that congress getting involved would only make it worse.

They better pay attention, if people like Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) want to have hearings about the BCS wait until some senator or congressman who is looking to make a name for himself decides to look a little more carefully at the goings on WRT to this issue. Especially when it affects the financial aspect of a school, the last thing the NCAA wants is the government looking in its books and procedures.

Don't think that it can't or won't happen. There is plenty that the NCAA does not want to see the light of day.

I mean come on...

The NCAA could easily do something here, I mean it's not like the NCAA hasn't used draconian measures in the past...

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