San Francisco Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald provides an excellent overview of the sports agent business.
A few points from the article worth highlighting:
"Based on interviews with several established agents, it appears that it's inexperienced agents and their runners who are more apt to cross the line."
Yes, there are agents and athletes who cheat. Shocking. There's also coaches and boosters who cheat. I tend to agree with sports agent Steve Baker who was quoted in the article: "The potential for abuse is there. But, frankly, I think the system self-corrects, and those people are run out of the business."
The problem is agents with few to zero clients care little about NCAA regulations and perhaps even agent laws (which may not apply if he is not operating as an "agent"). Ultimately agent prohibitions can easily have the unintended consequence to help unethical agents gain an advantage over those who respect the rules.
If agent recruiting is anything similar to college recruiting, we know contact between athlete and agent/coach matters. That's why coaches call and text message prospects incessantly. They do whatever is allowed under NCAA rules. And some don't even stop there. Agents are no different in their quest for clients.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said in the article, "There's nothing (agents) can do for you during the season except get you in trouble." I understand Coach Tedford's frustration. But I think people need to consider reality: everyone likes to talk about their future. Top college football players want to talk about the NFL, just like high school players want to talk about college. I agree in principle that during the season a player should only be focused on his sport and his schoolwork. But if they have time to play Madden football, they will make time to talk to agents.