Yesterday, ESPN broke a story alleging that USC's OJ Mayo took money and gifts from a "runner" that represented an agent. OJ was one of the biggest recruits that entered college basketball last year and after one season he announced he will be entering the NBA Draft.
This is a potential "black eye" for USC, OJ Mayo, the agent industry and college basketball.
What are the answers?
Any time you have potential for large rewards there is potential for corruption. It is evident on Wall Street, in big business, in pro sports and in government.
If this case turns out to be true, what might be some potential remedies:
- eliminate the required one year waiting period after high school before a player is eligible for the NBA. I was in favor of a one or two year stay in college before a player is eligible for the NBA, but I am starting to change my mind. If a player's only goal is to make money in the NBA, then let him go right out of high school! College isn't for everyone and if a player doesn't intend to work towards a degree and be a part of the student body then he shouldn't be in college. And that is ok. I am not condemning anyone. Let these players go to the NBA Developmental League or straight to the NBA.
- can the NBA or the government regulate the agent industry? Their world is competitive and they need to develop relationships at an early age with potential pro players. Can the NBA ban or penalize an agent for being involved with an activity they deem illegal? Can the government impose stricter laws for certain acts by a sports agent or "runner"?
A lot to think about!