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Report: Former agent claims to have paid college players
Question of the Day
NEW YORK | A former sports agent tells Sports Illustrated he paid college football players early in his career, and several of them confirm it to the magazine.
Josh Luchs says in the Oct. 18 edition he paid more than 30 players from 1990-96, including many who didn’t sign with him.
He says quarterback Ryan Leaf, the second pick in the 1998 draft who famously flopped in the pros, took more than $10,000, most of which he voluntarily paid back after signing with another agent. Leaf declined to comment on specific allegations.
Luchs also says he paid first-round picks Jamir Miller and Chris Mims. Miller, a linebacker from UCLA taken 10th by the Cardinals in 1994, declined comment. Mims, a defensive lineman from Tennessee taken 23rd by the Chargers in 1992, died in 2008.
Luchs was suspended for a year by the NFL Players Association in 2007 over the handling of a commission check. He says he’s telling his story because “I don’t want my career to be defined by that suspension.”
Luchs says he didn’t pay players while working with Gary Wichard, the agent linked to the investigation of NCAA violations at North Carolina. But he says Wichard and John Blake, the Tar Heels assistant who resigned amid the investigation, worked together in violation of NCAA rules in 2002.
Wichard and Blake declined comment through their lawyers.
Luchs says Jonathan Ogden, the Baltimore Ravens 11-time Pro Bowl tackle, wouldn’t take money but accepted concert tickets in violation of NCAA rules. Ogden confirmed the account.
Luchs lists more than 20 other players he says he paid: Michigan State’s Tony Banks; Arizona’s Rob Waldrop; Tennessee’s Chuck Webb; Portland State’s Darick Holmes; Illinois’ Mel Agee; USC’s Travis Claridge, Phalen Pounds, R. Jay Soward and Delon Washington; Colorado’s Kanavis McGhee, Joel Steed and Greg Thomas; Washington State’s Leon Bender, Torey Hunter, Singor Mobley and John Rushing; and UCLA’s Chris Alexander, Ryan Fien, Carl Greenwood, Othello Henderson, Vaughn Parker, Matt Soenksen and Bruce Walker.
Alexander, Greenwood, Henderson, Mobley, Soenksen, Soward, and Walker confirmed receiving money. Fien, Hunter, Steed and Waldrop said they did not receive money from Luchs.
Banks, Parker, Pounds and Rushing declined to comment on the allegations. Holmes, McGhee, Thomas, Washington and Webb did not respond to requests to comment.
Agee, Claridge and Bender are deceased.
Luchs says Dana Stubblefield, J.J. Stokes and Keyshawn Johnson declined to take money from him.
Luchs says that while he was recruiting Ohio State receiver Santonio Holmes in 2005, Holmes said he had been taking money from an agent for a couple of years. Holmes, now with the Jets, said the story was untrue.
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