A few days ago, football agent Greg “Tripp” Linton of HOF Player Representatives wrote an article titled, Agent’s Corner: You Want the Truth, You Can’t Handle The Truth… The article starts with a familiar story to many sports agents in the business – a college coach having an under-the-table relationship with an agent – but a story that is rarely told as a first-person recollection. Linton describes his constant reaching out to a particular football recruit who had expressed an interest in learning more about Linton and his company, along with the recruit’s college coach doing everything in his power to serve as a roadblock to Linton’s communications. The icing on the cake comes when Linton finds out from the recruit that the coach told the player that he already has “a guy” for him that he has known for a while, and that the player should end up going with that agent. In that particular case, the entire set of events ended up working in Linton’s favor because the athlete was smart enough to see through the coach’s self-interested maneuvers, but oftentimes, athletes put their trust into third parties (it is not only coaches) who do not necessarily have the players’ best interests in mind, and it ends up harming the athletes.
The other “cases” that Linton writes about are examples that have been shared with him by his colleagues. They are certainly worth reading, but I place extra value on that first case, because it was an experience lived by Linton himself. While I wish that Linton divulged the name of the coach and player, I understand how that act could jeopardize his name in the industry, which is something he needs to protect.
Linton finishes his article with four things he is not too thrilled about: 1) University committees that advise players with the agent selection process, 2) Outside consultants who assist in the agent selection process, 3) Limitations on when agents can contact student-athletes, and 4) State agent laws. The one area where I think there can be a lot of value is the inclusion of outside consultants, however, those consultants must be vetted and appear to be as non-biased as possible. No matter what, they will undergo some scrutiny based on the agents the players select, but I truly do believe that these outside consultants could be a very strong benefit to the athletes and their universities. The outside consultants should be intelligent, respected within the community, knowledgeable about NCAA/players associations/state/federal rules, regulations, and laws, and have an ability to connect with the student-athletes.
I want to end this post by giving props to Linton for writing the article. He knew that he would be scrutinized for it and that it could hurt him in many ways. My hope is that he shows it to his future recruits and that they respect him for it – I think a majority of them will.