As Marc Isenberg correctly pointed out on this website not too long ago, Sports Agents = The Issue de Jour. But for much of the past few months, the focus of the media and the NCAA Agent, Gambling and Amateurism division has been on sports agents’ relationships with football student-athletes. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of South Carolina, University of Alabama, and University of Georgia have all been negatively affected by sports agents who have ignored NCAA regulations, and state and federal athlete agent laws. But the issue of athletes receiving benefits from agents does not only exist on those four campuses. It is a problem at many other schools and is also not restricted to the sport of football.
Many agents actually believe that when it comes to the highest rated players in each sport, agents are offering and giving more benefits for free to student-athletes in basketball than in football. Basketball AgentGate may have begun with the recent investigation of the University of Oregon basketball program, where an agent supposedly promised money to a student-athlete (Michael Dunigan) while he still had NCAA eligibility remaining.
Without a doubt, Oregon has a big athletic program, but its basketball focus is nowhere near the size of a Kentucky or UConn. Then again, UConn has already had its own NCAA compliance issues to worry about in this respect, when it was discovered that an agent named Josh Nochimson provided benefits to Nate Miles for free. My guess is that if the same thing was discovered today, it would be sensationalized and covered much more extensively by the media. And in turn, it would probably make Connecticut’s Commissioner of Consumer Protection take some sort of action.