Much has been written (in handwriting or otherwise) in recent days regarding whether Jay Z (apparently he is now hyphen-free) already is wooing South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney, who is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, posted (then deleted) something on an Instagram page that gave credence to a report that Jay Z had gotten a head start on the process of recruiting the crown jewel of the next class of NFL players.
South Carolina Athletic Director Steve Fink wrote by hand a carefully-worded statement regarding the outcome of the investigation: “Based on the facts that USC has gathered, Jadeveon Clowney has not had any impermissible conversations nor has he received any impermissible benefits.”
“Impermissible” hinges on perspective. Impermissible as to Clowney? Or impermissible as to Jay Z?
Fink and USC care only about ensuring they can get another year of extremely cheap (in relation to its value) labor from Clowney. They can do that only if: (1) Clowney doesn’t realize he should just quit playing for free and ensure he won’t get injured before the 2014 draft; or (2) Clowney doesn’t make himself ineligible by taking money from an agent or someone acting on an agent’s behalf.
Is it impermissible for Clowney to talk to Jay Z? No. As long as all they do is talk.
Is it impermissible for Jay Z to talk to Clowney? USC has no real reason to care.
Others may. The South Carolina government requires agents to register before recruiting student athletes. Also, the NFLPA prohibits non-certified agents from recruiting players to sign with certified NFLPA agents.
Jay Z can recruit Clowney for the purposes of handling his non-football business opportunities without running afoul of NFLPA rules, because the NFLPA has no jurisdiction over off-field marketing efforts. But the NFLPA has jurisdiction over Jay Z employee Kim Miale, an NFLPA-certified agent who currently is being investigated in connection with Jay Z’s role in recruiting Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
Reports and evidence of Jay Z recruiting Clowney while the initial investigation is pending will do nothing to persuade the NFLPA to look the other way, and it makes the already remote chances of Jay Z obtaining NFLPA certification for himself even more remote.
Technically, the situation was overblown — if the results of South Carolina’s investigation are accurate. (There’s a chance they could be as accurate as a chicken-house count conducted by a wolf.) Clowney and Jay Z can talk without Clowney risking his eligibility.
And while Jay Z could end up in trouble with the powers-that-be in South Carolina or in even more trouble with the NFLPA, he doesn’t seem to worry too much about that stuff, so why should anyone else?