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Current NCAA rules prohibit players from accepting gifts and money from agents or signing with them before their college careers end. Any infringement of those rules can jeopardize an athletes’ remaining eligibility and put the school in danger of facing additional NCAA sanctions, as was the case with Reggie Bush and Southern Cal’s football team.

Smith told The Associated Press that the opening round of talks focused almost entirely on categories that need to be discussed. One of those was post-NCAA enforcement, or penalties that could be imposed after the player turns pro, though Smith emphasized formal proposals have been made and none are expected for at least three months.

The NCAA is treading carefully.

“It should be understood that the development of any post-NCAA penalty will be considered by the NFL and NFLPA and those groups will agree upon what is appropriate,” NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn. “What’s important is that at the current time all key stakeholders are discussing how best to address the issue.”

Contact with agents has been a longtime concern for NCAA officials, dating back at least as far as the late 1980s when Cris Carter was declared ineligible before his senior season after the NCAA determined he had signed with an agent.

Now, with the NCAA mounting a wide-ranging investigation into players at several schools,

Players at defending national champion Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have all been caught up in the investigation, and six North Carolina players will not be allowed to play this season because of the probe.

Perhaps, Smith said, that is why five national-championship winning coaches _ Mack Brown, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops and Jim Tressel _ urged the NCAA to bring all of these groups together.

“I think it’s everybody finally putting their hands up and saying enough,” Smith said. “They said it’s time to stop talking and let’s get to work.

Smith thinks the solution has to include stronger sanctions _ suspensions or not.

“I think at the end of the day some people have to have some healthy fear,” he said. “Every group that is part of this problem, the certified agent that crosses the line, the uncertified agent like the runners and the unscrupulous student-athlete, there has got to be some fear of ramifications.”