Sunday, July 25, 2010

Swofford: Schools need help dealing with agents

GREENSBORO -- Dealing with what has become known as The Agent Problem is going to require a lot of help, ACC commissioner John Swofford said Sunday, calling for assistance from the NFL, NBA and their respective unions.

"They need to give us some help as far as sanctioning agents and/or runners who don't act appropriately," Swofford said. "As a collegiate community, we have no hammer with those people."

Swofford lauded the investigation launched by N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall into potential agent involvement with North Carolina football players and encouraged the other states that have similar laws to do the same.

But perhaps his most curious call for action was directed at the body already charged with monitoring, investigating and punishing illegal interaction with agents: the NCAA itself.

"We spend a lot of money on the NCAA," Swofford said. "Maybe some of that money would be better spent on a larger and more efficient investigations staff."

Swofford's comment could be interpreted as a subtle shot across the bow, particularly among those who feel the NCAA is sometimes more concerned with protecting its lucrative monopoly than it is the welfare of the athletes who generate that revenue.

Whether Swofford meant it that way or not, his choice of words certainly raised eyebrows.

In any case, Swofford made it very clear he felt the problem went well beyond the capacity of schools and conferences to regulate it.

"As an athletic director, as a coach, you feel vulnerable," Swofford said. "It's not an easy situation to control from an institutional standpoint."

-- Luke DeCock