In Return, Saban Won't Call Names

At his regular Monday press briefing, Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked a question based on the reporter's premise "that the NFL Players Association is going to require agents to cooperate fully with NCAA investigations."

Earlier this year, following reports of agent involvement with a number of college players, resulting in players being suspended for games to begin this season, Alabama Coach Nick Saban organized a conference call that included coaches, NCAA representatives, conference commissioners, the commissioner of the NFL, and representatives of the NFL Players Association. It was Saban's contention that the NFL Players Association is the only entity that has the power over agents necessary to force them to abide by rules that would not jeopardize the careers of college athletes.

During the summer some of the nation's top juniors had been enticed to Miami Beach by an agent, an impermissible benefit under NCAA rules. Among those top junior players was Alabama star defensive end Marcell Dareus.

Dareus was forced to sit out the first two games of the Crimson Tide season and pay the amount of his benefits to a charity of his choice. The amount was in the neighborhood of $1,800.

Dareus, who was the Defensive Most Valuable Player in the Crimson Tide's BCS National Championship Game victory at the end of last season, returned to action last week against Duke.

Saban, who had referred to "unscrupulous agents" as "pimps" during a discussion of the problem at this summer's Southeastern Conference Media Days, said that he couldn't say if the conference call had caused the action.

"I do think it's a step in the right direction," Saban said. "I think it shows that there is some unified effort with the NCAA, the coaches association, the NFLPA and the NFL to try to create some solutions to something that has become a problem. Anytime you have this many good players suspended for two to four or however many games, it's not good for college football, it's not good for pro football, it's not good for the players, and it's not really good for anything. It is a step in the right direction and hopefully we'll continue to work to have a good group of people putting their heads together to try to figure out other ways that we can come up with even better solutions."

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