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The Spotlight On Kenny Rodgers Cannot Help Ian Greengross

Right before I was scheduled to give a speech to the Indiana University Sport Marketing Alliance this past Thursday, I was told that former Florida Gator and current Auburn Tiger, Cam Newton, might have accepted money prior to enrolling at Auburn.  The entire conversation started with John Bond, a former Mississippi State quarterback, stating that when Newton was deciding which school he would attend after doing a one-year stint at Blinn College (a junior college), a man by the name of Kenny Rogers was going around asking for money in return for Newton’s commitment to play.

Newton had vehemently denied that he ever asked for or received money to play at Auburn or that he was ever involved in soliciting money from any other educational institution.  Had Rodgers crafted this plan on his own, without ever informing Newton or his family?  If so, did he think no one would ever find out about it?

Whether Rodgers had authority to act on behalf of Newton or was acting on his own accord without Newton’s knowledge, we at least know that this man is up to some shady business.  His “job” entails matching football prospects with college programs, and works with Elite Football Preparation, a company that places athlete prospects in football camps in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Illinois.

What if I told you that Rodgers had clear ties to an NFL Players Association certified Contract Advisor?  Ian Greengross (here he is on Twitter) represents Greg Hardy, Titus Brown, Sam Hurd, Trindon Holliday, Amobi Okoye, John Denney, Brandon Fields, Trevard Lindley, Cyril Obiozor, Traye Simmons, and his biggest client is Darren McFadden.  His company, GAME Sports & Entertainment, is based in Chicago, Illinois, which is the same home of Rodgers’ Elite Football Preparation.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times reported that Greengross and Rodgers not only share the same city, but also share a joint bank account under the name “Greengross Athletic Management Enterprises.”  Rogers has also recently been on the record stating that Greengross pays him $2,000 a month.

On November 5, the NFLPA’s Committee on Agent Regulation and Discipline (CARD) issued a disciplinary complaint against Ian Greengross for violating numerous provisions of the NFLPA’s Agent Regulations while recruiting and representing players, and for the actions of Kenny Rogers, who is identified as Greengross’ recruiter.  Greengross is responsible for the actions of Rodgers if his conduct violates the Regulations.  Rogers is alleged to have misrepresented to prospective clients that he was an NFLPA employee, a Club official, and an official from a testing service, in an effort to recruit them.  He also is alleged to have recruited players while they were signed to agency contracts with other agents.

Greengross has already hired an experienced lawyer – David Cornwell.  My guess is that Cornwell’s expertise might enable Greengross to endure a less severe penalty than if he had gone with an attorney who is not as familiar with the NFLPA’s Agent Regulations, but I doubt even Cornwell will be able to keep his client away from any discipline.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.