NCAA Tackling Agents Issue; Major Penalties Possible

Several groups are working with the NCAA to find new ways to enforce rules prohibiting improper agent-related benefits for college football players, including possible post-NCAA financial penalties that reach into a player's potential pro career - a precedent-setting punishment. The National Football League, the NFL Players Association and sports agents are among those involved in discussions of various proposals. "Something is going to happen, and it's going to happen quickly," Chicago-based sports agent Rick Smith told the Associated Press.

The NCAA "has identified opportunities for greater collaboration, including enforcement efforts, potential post-NCAA financial penalties, best practices for the effective enforcement of state agent laws, and educational efforts, as well as an examination of the frequency and timing of agent contact with student-athletes," according to a statement issued by the association. The NCAA says panel members met last week and will speak again next month. Among the panel members are NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian, Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany and Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive. A longer list of participants can be found here.

"There's not one single entity that can solve this issue," said North Carolina football coach Butch Davis, whose team is the focus of an NCAA investigation that has benched six Tar Heels. "It's going to take a lot of people. There's an answer someplace, and we've just got to work hard to try to find it."

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