Trojan horse, the sequel: USC has a sports agent operating in its midst
"He's got the keys to a pretty powerful machine," said USC compliance official David Roberts. "And unless it's operated properly and ethically, there could be consequences for a lot of people."
Times college football reporter
Teague Egan is the name. Knowing only that, you could envision a preppy East Coast kid or somebody carrying books to class at Oxford.
But he's very much in the crosshairs of the USC football program, which, you may have heard, just spent about five years under the microscope for improper benefits provided by an agent to the parents of Reggie Bush.
Now comes Egan, the 22-year-old USC undergrad who gave Trojans freshman Dillon Baxter a ride across campus in a golf cart, for which Baxter was suspended a game and had to repay $5 to charity to regain eligibility.
That sounds silly, but a lot of other stuff around Egan doesn't. For one, the golf cart bears the logo "1st Round" Entertainment, the name of Egan's company.
More than that, Egan has somehow been licensed by the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA is supposed to require a college degree, but Egan got around it, saying he has already had success as a precocious businessman.
"I'm a born negotiator," Egan told Sportsagentblog.com.
Among other things, Egan has started a record label, hired rapper Sam Adams and launched 1st Round. He joined a fraternity at USC and became close friends with a handful of football players.
His company, he says, threw a party in which he promised a club big crowds, transported by limousines, in return for a percentage of the bar. He described it as "packed with hundreds of kids from USC, UCLA and LMU. We lost money on the party, but 1st Round was officially established."
You can find pictures on the Internet of Egan with USC players at parties, which is no doubt just thrilling to those at Heritage Hall. Imagine the size of the eyeballs in the USC compliance department when news of Egan's exploits began percolating.
Oh, and by the way, Egan says he wants to represent USC players going to the NFL. He told the L.A. Times that after the Baxter flap blew over, he was in a bar and football players "were all there together and they said they had my back. We're still all friends. They said it's absurd they're being told who they can and can't be friends with."
You can picture USC vice president for athletic compliance David Roberts pulling hair out as he told the L.A. Times, "It's unfortunate, but he's got the keys to a pretty powerful machine. And unless it's operated properly and ethically, there could be consequences for a lot of people."
That's pretty much what Lane Kiffin, the USC coach, seemed to be saying Tuesday on the weekly Pac-10 conference call.
"Obviously, it's a huge concern for us," he said. "Our people have talked to this kid a number of times. Here's someone who just became an agent. From our understanding, he had relationships with players before that."
Kiffin mentioned Egan having classes alongside players, which ought to be a screaming siren to the NFLPA. If Egan is perceived by players as hip, a friend and someone who knows what he's doing, USC has a major issue on its hands. And even when he's done with school, he's going to know players, and he's going to know players who know other players.
Woes of Westwood
At each of his previous two stops, at Colorado and Washington, Rick Neuheisel had double-digit wins by his second year.
But as UCLA (4-7) finishes its third season under him, the Bruins are only 15-21. UCLA has had a series of quarterback problems, and Neuheisel says attrition on both lines has been critical.
"It's just been very difficult to keep guys at their positions and matriculate through the program in a normal way," Neuheisel said.
When I asked if the UCLA administration was understanding of the difficulties, Neuheisel said, "I think there's still a confidence level here that we're on the right track and we're going to get this done. At least that's the feeling I get. If there's a different feeling, it hasn't been communicated to me."
And what's more ...
• Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh says recruiting commitments will prevent him from attending a Michigan banquet Thursday night at which the 1985 team will be honored. That was going to be uncomfortable, because Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is under fire and Harbaugh is seen as a possible successor.
• The pick Thursday night in Tucson: Arizona 27, ASU 16. 'Zona pressure likely to cause Brock Osweiler some problems.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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