Substitute about any succesful college football player's name for Bush in the stories about the Heisman Trophy winner's alleged misdeeds with wannabe agents and marketers. Even the almighty Tim Tebow. Seriously, would it shock you?
The opportunities for major prospects and those close to them to accept illicit gifts and payments are abundant. Meanwhile, the NCAA can do little to punish them after the fact. The schools pay the price for their misdeeds, and that's only if anyone gets caught.
A thornier issue -- and one which appears to be of even greater consequence in the ongoing proceedings against the Trojans -- is what the athletic department should have known about its star athlete's shenanigans.
Unfortunately for the public, the Trojans and their judges, the wise framers of the Association's byzantine bylaws didn't offer much help. The NCAA canons on institutional control hinge on vague principles such as "appropriate," "prompt" and "meaningful."
Hence, the countless hours, manpower and funds that have been sunk into a four-year investigation into who did what and who knew whom.
Reasonable people might step back and wonder, What's the point of trying to enforce all these inherently unenforceable regulations?
Obviously, I'm not the first person to question just how naive and ineffectual the rules governing amateurism in college sports are. Fear not, though, as this is not some warmed-over rant about such stupidity. I come armed with a plan to ease some of the inanity, at least when it comes to agents and athletes.
1. Allow agents to extend payments and other forms of remuneration to college athletes in exchange for the guaranteed right to represent them when the players turn professional.
2. Establish a clearinghouse for "NCAA-sanctioned" agents.
3. Prohibit athletes from signing with an agent prior to enrollment.
Anyway, I hope to develop this plan a little further in the coming weeks. I have the basic rationale down, but I was hoping to get some input from readers before going forward. If you have any suggestions or general feedback about the idea, please feel free to fire away with your comments or contact me via e-mail. Thanks.