Thursday, October 14, 2010

Luchs Scandal Unmasks Sleazy Age in Football: Paying Student-Athletes Is Absurd

How fascinating is it that former agent Josh Luchs gave Ryan Leaf $500 a month, confident he could woo the megastar quarterback to be his client? This and other stories Luchs share in an interview with Sports Illustrated exposes all the duplicity transpiring in college sports, and sadly it ruins the integrity.

Amid an age that isn’t to be trusted, in a country suffering from an economic downturn, agents who lavish college athletes with money ought to be ashamed. If you haven’t noticed, the latest brouhaha to disturb our senses broke in the news, as scandals involving slimy agents have been going on for a long time now. Get used to it. This nonsense won’t disappear any time soon.

The idiots wearing suits will pose as businessmen, commit fraud and offer money to athletes as a way to bribe players. There’s a reason scandals constantly stain college football in a nation that focuses strongly on greed and ego, rather than education and preparing for a better tomorrow.

In clarity, the committees and trustees allow too much elbowroom, and it unfortunately tarnishes football programs. By an ugly controversy shamefully destroying the beauty of college sports, a disoriented NCAA is tremendously in disarray. Stories about improper benefits given to student athletes are pathetic, but as long as the house of academia and overseers refuse to address the issue and integrate a new policy, agents will be a convenience to destitute players. Weren’t they aware of this ongoing ignominy a long time ago? Isn’t it humiliating and disgusting that an agent provided impermissible benefits.


As it seems, everyone responsible was dismissive and stoic. With the recent chatter about agents paying college athletes, as NCAA infractions have become a frequent pattern in college sports, outrageously the Sports Illustrated article, “Confessions of an Agent” is the most stunning story of investigative journalism that finally brings out the truth about unscrupulous agents.

There is no conceivable way that the NCAA can prevent agents from manipulating the lives of kids, unless it constitutes a bylaw to govern sports agents. As long as agents are allowed to manipulate and provide extra benefits, allegations will come to light and turn out to be an ugly situation. By the time athletes veer into their college careers as top-notched stars, the defiance and negligence from agents baits the young minds of unaware student athletes.

It isn’t often, especially in sports, that an athlete rejects millions from an agent. Many athletes have departed high school, as gifted players and couldn’t afford to buy expensive SUVs, spacious homes or even support their families, but attained wealth and happiness by receiving improper benefits. Like the rest of us, athletes are trying to find an easy way in life, when really there is no such thing as having an easy way in life.

Embedded in much controversy for all the insanity involving sports agents who lavished student athletes with improprieties, agents lose all respect for sadly dictating how players live their lives. For instance, crooked businessmen enrich their popularity and become richer by gipping players. That is like snatching candy from a baby. The lack of stability is awful in college sports, and agents contribute to the troubles.

Even though these flaws have been exposed for decades, the most current disclosure of multiple claims made by Luchs is shocking. He said he paid players and provided extra benefits before leaving the business, but we haven’t uncovered a shred of truth. By confessing to the world and telling a well-known source that he paid players during his career gives all the credibility to Luchs.

For all the talk about infractions, Luchs’ colossal admission of guilt is flimsy. Sorry, I am not buying the lame excuses one bit, and you shouldn’t either. Much of the blame falls on Luchs’ foolishness, after deciding to give players money while college athletes were in the spotlight during their college careers.

Here’s Luchs’ defense.

“A lot of these kids didn’t even have enough money to buy groceries,” he said during one of his radio interviews. “I’m not trying to paint myself as Mother Teresa, but clearly, at least in my case, the money served a purpose.”

Did he use the Mother Teresa analogy? Indeed. However, it’s a sensible comparison in a way. But essentially, Luchs is not Mother Teresa. He is, nonetheless, a buffoon and is just as liable as these athletes themselves, matured enough to know the difference between wrongdoings and good deeds.

Surrounded by the negative publicity after stepping down from the business, Luchs is now making headlines because he satisfied and pampered players. He gave players millions of dollars, more than enough to feed and nourish their impoverished families. But for years now, you should have had a nagging suspicion that Leaf, the biggest quarterback bust in NFL history, was up to something no good. Leaf was the centerpiece of Washington State’s 1997 Rose Bowl team, but turned into an absolute disappointment when he became an NFL quarterback and failed miserably in San Diego.

As the ex-agent alleges in a first-person article this week, the story and accusations have the media buzzing. All of a sudden, Leaf is a wanted man again, or should be at least. Decades ago, Luchs said he gave Leaf more than $10,000 in regular payments of $500 and said his wannabe client repaid a bulk of the money after he signed with the San Diego Chargers.

In reality, Luchs believe schools need to pay athletes megabucks. Sorry, but they are college students, not professionals. The general idea sends a bad message to students, who are seeking an education or a rewarding career.

When it comes to college students, agents offering money only encourages kids to try out for sports. Maybe even the geeks on campus would play football and begin participating in sports activities in high school to be regarded as a top prospect in the nation. It would be folly to suggest that students will earn cash to perform in a sport. Doesn’t that take away from the integrity? Absolutely.

The transition to paying players won’t solve a damn thing. However, of course, classes will be overly populated and more stars will emerge into premier stars. If nothing else, it would take away from the enthusiasm and spirit.

My advice to the NCAA is not to listen to Luchs’ absurdity. In all honesty, he’s only saying this because he feels sorry for players and himself, looking to clean up his reputation and put the madness behind him. At certain times, we can speculate that this game is concerned about greed and ego. No one is thinking about emphasizing the importance of education.

As long as nobody really minds that agents have a large influence on students in a wrenched era, the existence of agents will continuously outrage people and leave us leery of these sleazy businessmen. For years, we’ve witnessed infractions and sanctions cast a cloud over schools that violated NCAA rules. If college athletes were to get paid as a cure for minimizing transgressions, then they wouldn’t be known as amateurs but professionals in college.

If so, pay the students for studying constantly and attending classes in study halls, too. Would that stop sports agents from tarnishing an entire program? Oh sure, blame it on the kids and trustees. It’s funny how agents are the victims. But if anything, they are frauds.

So when Luchs said he paid more than 30 players cash and offered free meals and concert tickets, it made it clear that players are getting paid today. The hypocrisy occurs in the realm of America’s most famous sport, because no one cares to rectify the situation and this is dismantling the culture and the honesty of the game.

Because we are hearing the latest about an ugly scandal that exists today, the names are unmasking after Luchs confessed. Among those names, former USC wide receiver R. Jay Soward admitted to accepting Luchs’ benefits.

“I would do it again. I have four sons, and if somebody offered my son money in college and it meant he didn’t have to be hungry,” Soward said. “I would tell him to take it.”

In all likelihood, I’ll take it too. Why not? Someone offered it to me. Still, it doesn’t make it right.

The NCAA took a survey and it showed merely 25 of the 119 Football Subdivision programs earning money in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The problem with student athletes is that they want gifts for a little bit of nothing. These days, everyone has to earn his or her stuff. Nothing should be given to anyone.

Consider it cheating now in college athletics, with a multitude of sordid agents building a relationship with universities and athletes. No one cares about NCAA rules. There’s too much money involved, so student athletes treat the industry like it is a business and not a university.

Right now, it doesn’t even seem logical to pay student athletes in the midst of financial struggles during an economic crisis. Universities aren’t financially stable to make payments to players. The shortage of payroll is financially affecting low-class schools that would likely have to pay a similar rate in salary like the richer schools.

Where is the money in the battered economy? Schools have no extra money to waste on college students. And in a disoriented system, agents have no business associating with student athletes.