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Saban said he wants the NFL Players Association to get involved and suspend agents whose dealings help cost players eligibility, sending a message through their bank accounts.

“That’s the only way we’re going to stop this happening, because it’s ridiculous and it’s entrapment for young people at a very difficult time in their life,” the former Miami Dolphins coach said. “It’s very difficult for the NCAA to control it, and it’s very unfair to college football.

“I think we should look into doing something about that.”

Florida coach Urban Meyer said it’s impossible for a coach to keep agents or their “runners” off campus and said they need to be “severely punished” by either state laws or the NFL for wrongdoing.

“It’s epidemic right now,” he said. “It’s always been there, but I think we’ve reached a point where the magnitude of college football is really overwhelming. We’ve really got to keep an eye on that.”

The NFL itself, though, seems unlikely to get involved. Told of Meyer’s comments, league spokesman Greg Aiello noted in an e-mail exchange with The Associated Press: “The agents are regulated by the union.”

Asked whether the NFL might prod the NFLPA on the matter, Aiello wrote: “The union’s comments make clear that no encouragement is necessary.”

NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah wrote in an e-mail to the AP: “We take violations of NFLPA rules by agents seriously and investigate them vigilantly. This situation is no different.”

Atallah’s boss, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, voiced an even stronger stance in an appearance on ESPN radio earlier Wednesday _ before Saban’s remarks.

“I think that any agent or contract adviser who does that, and preys upon kids like that in college, is something that we’re going to deal with extremely aggressively,” Smith said. “Frankly, God help those agents if they’re found to be in violation, because I’ve given our players … the green light to take the most aggressive steps that they want to take.

“If those steps include me or someone else in our office making a criminal referral under certain circumstances, that’s what we’ll do.”

Slive said he wanted the NCAA to change its philosophy for dealing with agents from one based on rules enforcement to a policy that is more oriented toward educating student-athletes.

He said the current NCAA rules “may be as much part of the problem as they are the solution.”

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Rachel Newman-Baker, the NCAA’s director of agent, gambling and amateurism, said the governing body is reviewing its policies, but pointed out that schools can “change or amend the agent rules through the normal legislative process.”

The statement said, “NCAA rules allow conversations and information gathering between agents and student-athletes, but agreements and receiving extra benefits are not permitted. The NCAA Division I Amateurism Cabinet, a group of individuals from across membership with representation by 21 conferences, is currently reviewing how the NCAA can continue to help student-athletes gather information about pursuing a career in professional athletics.”

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