Thursday, July 22, 2010

UNC's Davis: Eliminate all contact with agents

University of North Carolina football coach Butch Davis sidestepped questions requiring specific information about the ongoing NCAA inquiry into the Tar Heels program.

But Davis was pointed Thursday when discussing how he believes the NCAA should go about stopping illegal activities between agents and eligible student-athletes.

``Having been in college football and in the NFL and having seen this from the standpoint of 12 to 15 years ago,'' Davis said. ``The process excluded agents from the process until the completion of eligibility. It made it a completely black and white issue.
``I do think, when the NCAA changed the rules to allow agents to visit players 18 months prior to their graduation, it's made everybody in America's job significantly tougher.''

Current NCAA rules allow eligible athletes to meet with agents provided the athlete covers his own expenses and that no agreement of representation is established. The NCAA rulebook lists an example scenario where an athlete has dinner with an agent.

``A student-athlete could go to dinner with an agent and no NCAA violations would result if the student-athlete provided his own transportation and paid for his meal,'' the book states.

But Davis believes the current situation, where UNC, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina are currently under NCAA investigation pertaining to athletes and agents, is a direct result of this gray area in the rule.

UNC players Marvin Austin and Greg Little are at the heart of the inquiry. Durham native Weslye Saunders, a tight end at South Carolina, has also met with NCAA officials in Columbia, S.C., about his possible involvement with agents.

Speaking Thursday at the Pigskin Preview press conference in Durham that involved coaches from UNC, N.C. State, Duke, East Carolina and N.C. Central, Davis did say the NCAA has given UNC high marks for the way it educates its athletes on the rules.

``The feedback we've gotten,'' Davis said, ``is that we are doing everything that we can to educate our young people about all kinds of things that have to do with intercollegiate athletics.''

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