Agent scandal growing; Dareus under investigation

From the AP: On Tuesday, ESPN.com reported that defending BCS champion Alabama is investigating whether a player broke NCAA rules by attending an agent’s party in Miami this summer.

The USC case sent a message that there may be little leniency when it comes to these issues, outside experts say.

“We’ll see what kind of evidence the NCAA is able to dig up,” said Darren Heitner, CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation. “If there’s a lot of chatter, and nothing gets done about it, then there will be real issues with the NCAA being a legitimate institution. They have to take this seriously.”

And with the NCAA taking it seriously, schools have extra incentive to make sure their houses are in order. Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive says his league brought in consultant Joe Mendes to meet with officials at all 12 schools, and several have retained him in an effort to help athletes avoid violations.

And agents take notice as well whenever there’s a show of toughness from the NCAA.

“About 10 or 15 years ago we had the same kind of situation … where there was a crackdown. They felt the behavior was getting out of control, and they stepped in, but it’s been a decade now since that happened,” said Tony Agnone, who represents about two dozen NFL players. “Any time you subject an institution to this kind of situation, it always works. It lets people know that there’s some people that are checking up on it.” (read the entire AP report on the agent scandal engulfing college football below)

The AP report cited this ESPN.com report. According to the ESPN report, “University of Alabama officials are investigating whether junior defensive lineman Marcel Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending an agent’s party in Miami’s South Beach earlier this summer, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Dareus, ranked as the No. 7 prospect for the 2011 NFL draft by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, is the latest prominent college football player to be entangled in an evolving NCAA investigation into illegal contact and conduct by sports agents.”

Here is an ESPN video update on the story: