The unfolding mess at the University of Miami, where football players allegedly received cash and other benefits from a booster who is now in prison for fraud and money laundering, has ensnared several players who are now in the NFL. And the NCAA is hoping the NFL will help it prevent the next such scandal.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning that he began having “really good conversations with the NFL” several months ago, and those conversations have focused on how the NFL can help keep agents from contacting players while those players are still in college.
“The NFL and the Players’ Association have been very, very engaged and thoughtful in that conversation,” Emmert said. “While we still have to work out specific details — and they got sidetracked, of course, with their Collective Bargaining Agreement — I believe we’re in a place where we can make some real progress with them.”
If the NFL and the NFLPA want to help the NCAA out, fine. But it’s not the NFL’s job or the NFLPA’s job to enforce NCAA rules. It’s the NCAA’s job.
Still, Emmert wants whatever help the NFL can provide.
“We’re at the table and we’re talking with them,” Emmert said. “They understand the problem, we understand their perspective, and now we’re trying to get something done there.”
Even though this is really an NCAA issue and not an NFL issue, it’s sure to be a major point of discussion in the NFL this year because so many NFL players are involved. The early indications are that most former Miami players don’t want to talk about it. Most of the players named in the Yahoo Sports investigation refused to comment, and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who played at Miami before this mess began, skipped a scheduled interview on Mike and Mike, perhaps deciding that this is an issue he doesn’t want to touch.
It might also be an issue the NFL doesn’t want to touch. But Emmert would take any help the NFL is willing to give.
UPDATE: Regarding Lewis’s absence, a Ravens spokesman tells us: “Ray has a serious health issue with a very close relative and is attending to that, and that’s why he did not do the show.”