Agents serve a purpose, I get that. Most college athletes don’t have the skill or training to negotiate a professional sports contract. They wouldn’t want to. Instead, the athlete lets his agent do the dirty work while he focuses on getting ready for the next level.
Yet, what Justin Bingman did just defies the logic of what an agent is supposed to do. Now, several Longhorns will have to face the consequences because of his actions.
Orangebloods.com is reporting Bingman had dinner with several prominent defensive players and their fathers. And he tweeted about it afterwards. This had Texas officials scrambling to do a little damage control. The university self-reported the incident to the NCAA back in June in hopes of avoiding a stiffer punishment than had the school done nothing.
Cedric Reed, Steve Edmond, Desmond Jackson and Jordan Hicks are now at risk of missing games this season. The penalty may be minor – perhaps a game or less. This situation just reminds us of the bigger problem – agents lurking around these athletes and breaking the rules.
What benefit does Bingman’s agency receive by jeopardizing the player’s amateur status? Doesn’t the agency understand the rules well enough to educate its agents on the do’s and don’ts when interacting with athletes? And if you are going to violate the rules, you sure as heck don’t tweet out what you have done. Bingman is stupid if he thinks any of these players will sign with him or his agency after this.
The players bare some responsibility for this as well. Don’t think that Mack Brown or Charlie Strong haven’t taught the players how to behave around agents, and what is acceptable, and what constitutes a violation. These guys aren’t freshmen. They have been in the program long enough to know better.
Still, you have to wonder why agents continue to break the rules. When will they learn? Is it too much trouble to play within the rules – like I’m sure many reputable agencies do – rather than sneaking around trying to sway a player in your direction before his season is over? Do they think they won’t get caught?
Maybe the problem is that agencies don’t have any skin in the game. The NCAA can’t suspend Bingman. He’s free to move on to the next guy he can talk into meeting him for dinner. Even if Bingman was ignorant to the rules, his bosses should have known better. The NFL Players Association could hand down some kind of punishment, but if these players miss multiple games and end up being late round picks or undrafted free agents, how heavy of a punishment will Bingman’s agency receive? Seems like a small price to pay to break the rules.
If the NCAA comes down hard on these players, and the penalty is more than one or two games, it could hurt draft stocks. All of these guys need to have great seasons to improve their draft status. You can’t climb the draft board when you are stuck on the bench serving a suspension.
This very well may have been the most expensive dinner these players will ever have.