In response to the recent rant from Alabama coach Nick Saban, who thinks that perhaps NFL scouts should be frozen out of college practices if the league can’t do a better job of keeping agents from paying players, a reader has suggested a possibly powerful way of addressing the problem.
Already, the NFLPA subjects agents who pay players to suspension. (The union rarely actually enforces the rule; as we explained last night, the union should be far more aggressive in this regard.) Why not also suspend players who ultimately are determined by the NCAA to have accepted payment while still eligible?
Though the NFL generally has scrapped the notion of imposing discipline via the Personal Conduct Policy on players who found off-field trouble while still in college, the league has a strong incentive to avoid the alienation of the men like Saban who preside over pro football’s free farm system. This approach would get the word out to every college player that, if you take money from an agent now and if the NCAA eventually finds out about it, the penalty at the next level will be far worse than not taking the money in the first place.
Though it surely won’t eliminate the problem, it could go a long way toward deterring some of the kids who have in the past pocketed money without fear of any consequence.