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Monday, September 16, 2013
A black eye for college sports

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

A recent report accused five SEC football players of receiving cash from agents and runners.

The players were from Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi State, and it continued a disturbing trend in college athletics.

It really bothers me to see a story like that.

Let me set the record straight. There are a lot of good people, quality agents out there who do things the right way. Unfortunately, it is the sleazy characters, runners working for agents, who don't worry about breaking rules.

It is sad that college athletics has to put up with this nonsense.

Coaches are also ruined in this scenario. Yes, coaches are accountable and responsible for the actions of their players. There is no way in the world that a coach can know every single thing that every player is doing. You are talking about a large roster. The bottom line is the coach gets in the headlines and he gets ripped. If he is aware of something, he has to jump on it immediately.

The fact is, a coach cannot possibly control every player he has. The players have to look into the mirror and know right from wrong. Those players are looking for cash the easy way, rather than waiting for the right time.

Let's face reality: Many of these athletes on college campuses are treated well and live a first-class life. Should they get some spending money given the dollars that the NCAA is making? Absolutely.

Understand this, there are rules that the athlete must adhere to. Once an athlete sticks out a hand to the sleazy runner who fills heads with visions of grandeur, that athlete has let everyone down. You have disappointed yourself, your family, your teammates and your institution.

If a runner is giving money out to athletes, how do you stop it from happening?

I think there should be tighter rules against agents and their runners. If they are caught doing anything wrong, they should be banned from college campuses permanently.

These are tough times in college sports. You have several schools under investigation, so you can only hope for better days ahead.