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CBB Column: Are Agents Ruining College Baseball?

JoshLuchsSports Illustrated recently wrote an outstanding article on former NFL agent Josh Luchs who on multiple occasions paid potential clients with cash, concert tickets, and/or meals throughout his career in the industry. In light of these allegations it begs the question.  Is this type of activity also going on in college baseball and if so to what extent?

In the past couple of years there have been several players suspended for having improper relationships with agents including a pair of high profile cases involving former Kentucky pitcher James Paxton and former Oklahoma State pitcher Andrew Oliver.

In an effort to find out whether this is also happening in college baseball we reached out to Darren Heitner of Dynasty Athlete Representation.  Darren is also the founder of the Sports Agent Blog.  We also spoke with Ray Ricker who coaches at Post University and served as the manager of the NECBL New Bedford Bay Sox.  We asked them to give us their thoughts on whether the examples that were outlined in the SI article may be also occurring in collegiate baseball.

Darren Heitner

Lately there has been quite a big discussion concerning student-athletes being paid money under the table by agents.  The practice contravenes federal law, violates many states’ laws, and is against NCAA rules and regulations.  As of right now, the media seems to only be focusing on the problem in college football.  Unfortunately it extends to another sport as well. Basketball.

I think it is just as bad, if not worse, in college basketball.  But I truly believe that the problem does not exist in baseball.  Even though the NCAA requires its student-athletes to compensate their advisors with the advisor’s standard fee, many advisors do not even end up requiring the players to hand any money over.  Players, for the most part, tend to come from higher socioeconomic families and do not find the need to run afoul of rules and laws for a few extra dollars.

In baseball, you hear about agents stealing clients from one another all the time.  You never hear about agents paying student-athletes under the table for the right to represent them.  I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon.

Ray Ricker

I do not feel that the agent problem is as prevalent in college baseball as is is in college football or college basketball. The NCAA has allowed “advisors” and I think that has helped control the situation of agents in baseball. I think that baseball is not like football and basketball where the top prospects usually will continue their dominance into the professional ranks, baseball there are injuries and adjustments before those college players might become a very good player if he reaches the big leagues at all.

The coaches can try to keep a tab on these players, as all coaches do with their players, but with 90 players on a football roster and the numerous obligations that they have it is hard for coaches to spot if your players have on a new shirt that they bought with the agent’s money. It is a difficult situation where you have to keep the agents far away from practices and help educate the student athletes on how this could hurt their careers.

What do you think of the situation? Do you think this is happening in college baseball, if so to what extent and if not, why not? Comment below

I highly recommend checking out the article which is available by clicking here.