"If one person utters my name, I will take every course of legal action possible," said one of those agents. "There are a lot of jealous agents; there is a lot of hatred. They think they can take an agent's name and throw it out in the media and hurt you in recruiting battles."
That's the last line of the SportsBusiness Journal story on the Marvin Austin-centric NCAA investigation currently bubbling along. The latest bit has the organization wondering how Austin got to the Proactive Sports Performance training facility in Thousand Oaks, CA this summer. The facility is where all of the clients of agent Gary Wichard train ahead of the NCAA draft – among them Kentwan Balmer, who came out of UNC a few years back. John Blake has also used the place for freelance training between coaching jobs. Sports agents are getting a little bit twitchy as the investigation is gravitating closer, but apparently at least five high-profile types are involved.
It's becoming more and more clear that most of the breathless reporting about this last week was based on a lot of misinterpretations of Austin's Twitter feed, plus the fact that he's pretty tight with Kentwan Balmer. And that includes the Miami trip, which included a birthday party for Balmer teammate Frank Gore. (Gore, for the record, is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, and claims no agents were involved in his birthday bash. Greatest line from that last piece? "SportsBusiness Journal texted the photo to Gore, but he did not respond to a question of whether that was his pool.") This isn't to say there isn't rule-breaking going on, just that the NCAA isn't talking, and a lot of sources running around aren't that resourceful.
(This is especially true when it comes to John Blake rumors. That widely-passed around piece last week struck me as pretty weak tea, considering it mostly consisted of a) Blake was at OU with Switzer, although OU hired him back twice for stints where there was absolutely no wrongdoing, b) the one season overlap with Jackie Sherrill, and c) the locker room problems of the Dallas Cowboys. The fact that problems in the Dallas locker room are both standard operating procedure and not against any rules appears to be irrelevant. Again, I'm a cynical, cynical man. I'm willing to believe that there are things going on under the table. But I'm going to need better proof by insinuation than this, please.)