Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.
Whatever happened to the days on innocence in college football? Don’t laugh! It really was a reality not all that long ago. Just ask your dad and his friends. Obviously, it’d be too simplistic to put all of the blame on agents. But they do deserve much of the blame. You know who else deserve some of the blame? Scouts! Coaches have every right to ban those scouts from their practices. He’s trying to protect his program.
Nick Saban has been the face of the “Ban The Scouts” campaign and he has been very outspoken about it. He promised last month at SEC Media Days in his discussion about “pimps” that he may take action against scouts. True to his word he has done just that. They are no longer welcome at Crimson Tide practice until further notice. He has since softened a little bit, saying scouts could return to practice on August 25th at a pre-determined time. It’s unfortunate that it came to that, but who can blame the coaches?
Having anyone associated with their players, even innocent bystanders such as scouts, opens up a Pandora’s box of potential issues. I’m well aware of the fact that scouts are there to do their jobs, take notes, and click their stopwatches. But I’m of the opinion that they could be distractions, even if they have noble intentions.
Suppose the players notice that scouts from the NFL are in attendance. Would that make them practice any different? Would they press more? Would they tense up? Would it limit the chances of an effective practice? These are all questions that college coaches really don’t have to answer. If I’m a coach and I see a scout watching practice, you know what I tell the scout? I say, “Don’t take this personally, but if you want to know what kind of player he is, we’ve got a game every Saturday in the Fall. I’ll be glad to talk to you in the Spring at the scouting combine. In the meantime, there’s the interstate right over there. It’ll lead you right out of town.”
Fair or not, one bad seed has ruined the whole apple, where the bad seed is the agents. Agents are professionals, scouts are professionals, and that’s what worries coaches like Nick Saban. It’s a classic case of “guilt by association.” Saban said it correctly, “Agents are screwing
it up.” Look at it from the point of view from a coach. Maybe these scouts have relationships with the agents. These coaches don’t know these scouts personally. Why should they be trusted? If you give an inch, the next thing you know, your players will be taking their talents to South Beach to an agent-hosted party.
It’s a sad state of affairs. I respect that scouts have a job to do. But in light of the rash of agents hovering around players, coaches have no choice but to protect the amateur eligibility of the student-athletes. That’s the nature of the beast that is college football.