Agent Ralph Cindrich: Coaches Ignoring the Obvious
"I could easily lump coaches in the same category that we were put in by [Alabama's Nick] Saban and [Florida's Urban] Meyer," Cindrich told FanHouse. "When you boil it all down, they're in a billion-dollar business and there is incentive to do well and their contracts reflect importance of maintaining a winning program."
Cindrich, 60, said if the coaches really want to put an end to players accepting gifts from rogue agents, they need to take their heads out of, uh, the sand.
"You have to not want to know," Cindrich said. "All you have to do is walk out in the parking lot or look at the 'bling' or have someone visit their room."
On Wednesday, Saban compared agents to pimps. Meyer called them predators.
Cindrich responded on his Twitter page (@RalphCindrich): "Before Saban hurls insults at agents he best check to see the dirt they have on him. He's as clean as a bed bug. Starts in college."
On Wednesday, SEC commissioner Mike Slive described the player-agent contact "as a national problem that calls for national agent strategy for college athletics."
Cindrich, an NFL agent for three decades and a former NFL player from 1972-74, has a simple solution to the agent problem that has the NCAA looking at alleged violations at Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
"You can accomplish this by having an amendment that has all the coaches, athletes, players, parents and boosters – if they're accepting anything – put them all under the same umbrella so it's a felony [to receive money and illegal gifts] and obviously include the agents in this," Cindrich said.
"If they really are serious and not just paying lip service, they could stop this immediately."
Cindrich, a licensed attorney based in Pittsburgh who said he currently represents 15-20 players, including two Pro Bowl clients in Jeff Saturday (Colts) and James Farrior (Steelers), understands agents will receive most of the blame. But there are others who also are responsible, he said.
"Agents have always had a bad name and they're not going to receive or deserve to receive any empathy, but the coaches and boosters are not far removed," Cindrich said. "Most of the agents committing crimes are not attorneys so they do not have as much as stake (if they are caught).
"I welcome the rules and the laws, but there are a lot of people (agents and representatives of agents) out there that don't have a lot to lose. If you don't have anything, you have nothing to lose (if they're doing something illegal). Some guys just go out and do whatever they can to get clients."
Cindrich said ultimately the players need to take some of the responsibility of accepting money or illegal gifts.
"Players know," Cindrich said. "Players know what they are doing is wrong."
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or please follow on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY