Photo: Bobak Ha’Eri on Wikimedia Commons
A student at USC who also works for a sports agency was warned by school officials to stay away from Trojan football players, lest he get them in trouble with the NCAA.Then a week later he gave a golf cart ride to freshman running back Dillon Baxter.
The golf cart ride could be considered an “improper benefit” and so the team reported a secondary violation to the NCAA and suspended Baxter for Saturday’s game against Oregon State. (The Trojans lost 36-7.)
The incident highlights the difficulty that schools have when it comes to keeping prospective agents away from students-athletes while they’re still in school.
The student in question is not an agent, but he is a registered as a “contract advisor” with the NFL Player’s Association. That allows him to befriend his classmates, and discuss their football futures, without actually becoming their “representative.” Provided no money or gifts change hands, it’s legit.
However, when does a gesture among friend become a gift? And would the people even be friends, if one of them wasn’t a football player? How many 22-year-old undergrads own a golf cart that they uses to ferry friends around campus?
The student is not hiding the fact that he wants to be an agent and even brags about befriending players on his company’s website. Yet, all the onus is on the 18-year-old freshman to know that golf card rides are against the rules.
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