Well, this is getting interesting.
A day after word emerged from a marginally-reliable Internet site that Alabama coach Nick Saban has advised NFL scouts that they’re not welcome in Tuscaloosa, due apparently to the ongoing agents-paying-players controversy, another SEC school apparently has joined the parade.
Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News reports that the University of Florida coach Urban Meyer has closed the doors as well, at least temporarily.
“Alabama is keeping guys out for the time being,” an unnamed NFL scout told Goodbread, “but, as I understand it,
that will be lifted at a certain point. It also looks like Florida is doing the same
On the surface, the NFL has no power over agents. Only the NFL Players Association regulates and/or investigates their behavior. Even then, the NFLPA’s jurisdiction is limited to contract agents and financial advisors; marketing agents — like the ones involved in the Reggie Bush mess — operate outside the NFLPA tent.
Even though the NFL technically has no blame in this situation, Saban realizes that the league will tiptoe on eggshells when it comes to college coaches, given that college football provides a free farm system for the pro game. Thus, by holding the NFL responsible for something it really didn’t do, Saban ultimately could force the NFL to clean up someone else’s mess.
Whether the solution comes from persuading the union to adequately beef up enforcement actions or imposing potential penalties on NFL players who have been paid at the college level or adopting rules compelling NFL players to cooperate with NCAA investigations or some combination of those and other ideas, slamming the door on the scouts gives the NFL a strong incentive to roll up its sleeves and work on fixing the situation.