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Everyone hates agents _ even scrupulous agents _ unless they have one. The problem with making unscrupulous agents the villains in this drama is that just like the kids they pick off, they’re only the low-hanging fruit. Considering the way college football is structured, it’s nothing short of laughable to hear the coaches and conference commissioners occupying the branches above to suggest the rot could be stopped there.

Big-time college football is effectively running a minor-league system for the NFL, and they’re doing it largely on the backs of kids whose football schoolwork is so demanding that many will never be able to take advantage of the scholarship that gets thrown in with it.

It’s not about the scholarships, anyway. As incoming Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly noted not too long ago, both of his predecessors routinely boasted some of the best graduation rates in the nation and both got fired. But not surprising, the most honest assessment of the whole mess was uttered by Steve Spurrier.

When asked about how best to go about cleaning it up, the old ballcoach admitted he didn’t have a solution, then added:

“I guess sometimes the lure of taking some cash right away affects all of us.”



Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)

(This version CORRECTS Removes incorrect reference to Saban coaching at Akron in 10th paragraph.)