North Carolina clamps down on agents

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Burned in recent years by a failure to prevent its football players from receiving benefits from agents, the University of North Carolina has opted to place extensive and largely unprecedented restrictions on those who hope to represent Tar Heels at the next level.

In an email sent Sunday to NFL agents, Associate Athletic Director Paul Pogge explains a new system that encompasses “all forms of contact by agents, advisors, and their representatives with UNC student-athletes.”

The program requires registration with the UNC athletics department prior to any communication with a UNC student-athlete or their parents, relatives, etc.  Then, any contact with a UNC student-athlete or a family member must be preapproved by both the compliance office and the appropriate head coach.

“If approved, a member of the Compliance Office must be present for any in-person meeting or phone call with a UNC student-athlete,” the email explains.  Also, any written communication must be submitted to the Compliance Office for approval before it is submitted to the student-athlete.

Basically, UNC will be treating its student-athletes like inmates.

While it will be an effective way to prevent agents from creating eligibility issues, there’s a point at which the control becomes excessive and unfair, limiting without proper justification the First Amendment rights of free speech and asociation.  And it won’t be a surprise if one or more agents choose to file suit or otherwise challenge these rules.

If they don’t, other schools may try to follow suit.

24 responses to “North Carolina clamps down on agents

  1. No, UNC student athletes who have NFL aspirations will be departing for schools who don’t have these restrictions…plus why would a top recruit choose UNC in the first place any longer?

  2. In exchange for your scholarship, you agree to give the university a certain amount of control over your right to free speech, free “association”, etc. It’s part of the deal.

  3. this is easy, the agents have not been able to police themselves so the school is. you don’t like it, don’t go to unc.

  4. The NCAA comes down on the schools for agent/player infractions, so that means they hold the schools responsible. This, then, is a school being forced to take responsibility for these characters and take sole charge of these matter. Maybe this will lead to better policing of agents.

  5. It may become “excessive and unfair” based on individual perception and opinion.

    But if I recall correctly, the First Amendment rights of free speech and association was written to prevent the federal government from making laws to trample these rights, and a century later was expanded to prevent state and local governments from doing so.

    But I don’t believe there is anything in the Bill of Rights that prevents a private enterprise, such as a college, from walking the line of what some individuals would perceive as abridgement of individual freedoms of expression. I don’t believe the founding fathers even considered this angle, since they themselves were government officials, and were only concerned with how their government treats and regards their citizens.

    IMO, basically, UNC will be treating its student-athletes like individuals who are not legally allowed to be considered as professional athletes, and preventing those who would treat them as such from doing so.

    But then again, I didn’t take the Bar Exam…

  6. To limit talking to parents/family etc….might be hard to police. What would the penalty be if violated but within NCAA/NFL rules?

  7. Wow what an assinine response to a program instituted by the University to meet the needs of the institution and the student/athlete. You think Marcus Austin would have been better served by playing his senior yr? Or the young Mr Macdoo? Why couldnt this serve both outcomes of protecting the University and the Athlete?

  8. Laying the melodrama on a little thick aren’t you?

    “Basically, UNC will be treating its student-athletes like inmates.”

    I fail to see how limiting contact between agents and student athletes can be equated with the student athletes being treated like inmates.

    Also “First Amendment” issues at public schools are not cut and dry (i.e. Hazelwood School District
    v. Kuhlmeier)…

    the Supreme Court says: “First Amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings, and must be applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. A school need not tolerate student speech that is inconsistent with its basic educational mission, even though the government could not censor similar speech outside the school”

    Given the rather bad outcomes of inappropriate agent/student contact for athletic programs and even the school as a whole the school is within its rights to oversee the contact to protect other students from the possibly harmful side-effects.

  9. I have no problem with this as it pertains to the players themselves. Where it breaks down for me is the attempt to extend the school’s control beyond the players to his or her family and associates. I can see no basis for such a blatant control grab, and if the university insists on it, they should in all fairness allow any player who is already in the system and who does not agree, to transfer immediately without penalty.

  10. Is this that much different than the jurisdiction that the NCAA already imposes over high school students that are not yet even in college? That supposed jurisdiction is just as absurd and far reaching.

  11. Coaches make millions … colleges make ten of millions … the kids, who make it all possible, get a garbage degree … maybe.

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  12. These policies are already in place at large university medical centers where people in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries must go through a very similar process, annual compliance training, medical updates, mandatory vaccinations, and such. Speech is limited and had been held up by the Supreme Court. How does this differ besides being a sports issue?

  13. It amazes me how people *completely* misconstrue the right to free speech in this country. Anybody can state anything they want anywhere, anytime as long as it doesn’t threaten anyone else’s well-being (yelling “fire” in a theater). It is not the responsibility of any University or broadcast network to facilitate that end. A scholarship athlete has entered into a contract that requires adherents to rules and conditions as described by the NCAA (not UNC). UNC has to protect and promote itself as a University, not just an athletic program or facilitate future professional athletes. Duke is just down the Road and doing just fine. Stanford also has major requirements and restrictions and is having terrific success. Good for Carolina for aspiring to the same.

  14. We have the NCAA to thank for this. Marvin Austin started this mess for UNC by going to Miami and tweeting about it. Austin goes on to the NFL and gets paid signing with the Giants while the recruits coming in behind him are punished.

    The NCAA is very selective in what schools it goes after and the punishment it delivers.

    I don’t see how having a student athlete talking to an agent gives that school a competitive advantage over anyone.

  15. I think Mike has a thing against NC…

    Why nothing on Steve Smith’s trip to the middle east to see the troops?

    Instead, Mike wants to make UNC look bad, Cam Newton and Steve Smith to look bad whenever he can, and the Panthers to move cities.

  16. I’m betting any one of you arguing legalese haven’t sniffed a college much less attended law school. Give it a rest. 1st isn’t UNC a state school? If so, they are beholden to the same restrictions as state government. Supreme Court? Really?! That case involved minors and their rights (or them lack thereof ), not college ADULTS. It would be huge leap to consider this an apples to apples comparison. This is an issue largely created by the NCAA and its draconian system.

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