In a recent Sports Illustrated story titled “Confessions of an Agent,” Josh Luchs talks about how he paid and gave illegal benefits to former college players, in clear violation of NCAA rules.
Luchs, a certified NFL agent for more than 20 years, names 30 players in the report including former Arizona State players Adam Archuleta, Todd Heap and Terrell Suggs.
The allegations and revelations are similar to when Jose Canseco released his first book and began talking about steroids in baseball.
Everyone knows players are taking improper benefits, and the NCAA is doing the best it can to eliminate the problem, but this article may be exactly what the NCAA needed.
Now the NCAA knows of at least one agent who is willing to talk, and they can hopefully figure out a way to stop this epidemic and clean up college football.
To Luchs' credibility, some players confirmed they received benefits, but the majority denied the benefits or declined to comment.
Former Arizona State defensive end and current Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs strongly denied the allegations.
“I wish I had seen some of it, I swear," said Suggs. "I didn't get nothing. From what I heard was going on, people were getting cars and checks and stuff, I was like, 'Yo, my dumb ass is really under the rug.' Nah, I don't even know what's been said. I didn't get no cake. I wish I was getting some cake.”
Although Suggs was not represented by Luchs, he was represented by Gary Wichard, who worked with Luchs and is also allegedly guilty of providing cash and benefits to NCAA athletes. Suggs, however, defended Wichard and himself.
“Gary Wichard didn't give me shit. He didn't give me anything,” Suggs said. “I wish I had known this was going on. Like I said, I never heard anything about it. I guess I'll have to read about it."
Many fans feel the institutions mentioned should be punished because of this report. They feel the athletes should be ruled ineligible and some sort of punishment should be handed down. USC fans could be inclined to think this only helps their case for an appeal because they feel as if they are the only ones being punished for something everyone else was doing.
The problem with this thinking is USC was caught and the others have just been accused.
No matter what happens, this article should be treated completely separate from the USC case, and the athletes and schools mentioned should not be punished.
This does not condone what may or may not have taken place, but when Jose Canseco released his book about steroids, Major League Baseball did not punish everyone because they were allegations and could not be proven right away.
That was the right approach and is exactly how the NCAA should handle this article.
It turned out Canseco was telling the truth, and I believe Luchs is too; nothing can be done until it is proven.
The NCAA will need to use this as a building block and try to use Luchs as a source, but they can not use it to punish multiple institutions because all of these are allegations and launching separate investigations into 30 athletes would be a waste of time and money.
It is unfortunate for college football that such an article was released, but the compelling, must-read article from Sports Illustrated shed some much needed light on one of the most frustrating parts of the collegiate game.
Hopefully, this is just what the NCAA needed and will help lead the way towards fixing college football.