The NCAA claims it's looking into the problem of agents on college campuses, an issue thrust into the spotlight this week because of a Yahoo! Sports story alleging an improper relationship between Jim Calhoun's Connecticut staff, a one-time recruit and an agent who also happens to be a former UConn manager.
If they look hard enough, what they'll find -- if they haven't already found it -- is that many of the "runners" working for agents in this era are former players or managers from elite college programs, and the reason is simple, because few coaches will shut their doors on a former player or manager, which means former players and managers have unique access to future draft picks. You see, it might look bad if a runner is hanging out after practice, taking players to dinner, buying beers, etc. But if that runner happens to be a former player or manager -- particularly a former player or manager who recently graduated -- then there's a natural disguise, and from the outside all anybody sees is a former player still hanging with his old teammates, or a former manager staying connected with his old program.
In reality, the former player or manager is employed by an agency.
So he's on the take.
And then when he takes care of the current players, they're on the take, too.
And then when the current players enter the NBA Draft, they go with the agency of the former player or manager.
And this is why it'll be impossible -- and if not impossible, then really, really difficult -- for the NCAA to keep agents and runners off of campuses, because college coaches can look in the mirror and tell themselves they're not doing anything wrong if all they're doing is letting former players or managers hang around their current players or recruits. Likewise, they pretend they're not really letting agents and runners into their program, just former players and managers. And that's a fine way to look at it ... right up until the point when it blows up, at which time you might find yourself heading into a Sweet 16 answering questions about a former manager who's bound to have your program on NCAA probation, and sooner rather than later.