Just a week following the NFL’s announcement of its plans to enforce tougher penalties on illegal hits, the NCAA’s college ranks have also reported its own intentions of beefing up the punishment for player misconduct.
The NCAA recently released a news statement of its current talks with professional leagues and player management agencies with an eye to creating “potential post-NCAA penalties” for student athletes who violate the improper benefits guidelines.
According to an Associated Press report, a panel of more than 20 college and pro officials are considering new guidelines that would cause any student athlete who loses their college eligibility for taking improper benefits from player management agents to be subject to financial fines upon entering any professional league such as the NFL, NBA or MLB.
And if that’s not enough, officials are also discussing possibly suspending improper benefit violators for as many as six to eight games during their rookie season in the pros. AP reports the panel of officials met last week and is making strides in agreement upon possible solutions to the improper benefits violations that has plagued college sports in recent years.
NFL stars Reggie Bush and Dez Bryant are perhaps the most high-profiled players who were recently charged with such student athlete misconduct. Bush recently gave back his 2005 awarded Heisman Trophy for taking improper benefits during his tenure at USC, while Bryant was suspended for most of his senior season in ’09 after the NCAA learned of his illegal interaction with former NFL star Deion Sanders. Other lesser known student athletes have also taken improper benefits, including six North Carolina Tar Heels football players, who were all stripped of their playing eligibility this season.
But college administrators have had enough. That’s why they’re teaming up with pro officials like AFCA executive director Grant Teaff and NFL team presidents Bill Polian to fix the problem fast.
“Our intent is not to eliminate NCAA oversight of agent issues, but rather modify the NCAA’s philosophical basis for these rules from enforcement to an assistance-based model,” said Mike Slive, president of the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA. “Dealing with improper agent conduct has been a challenge for a long time, not only for intercollegiate athletics, but also for the many agents who try to follow the rules.”
Even high profiled sports agents like Jimmy Sexton are in on the talks.
“Maybe for the first time,” Teaff stated, “we can have everybody singing out of the same hymn book.”