Yesterday, a ‘story’ – and I use the description of ‘story’ very loosely – hit the interwebs regarding David Amerson and ‘contact’ with an agent, namely former NC State wide receiver – and I use the description of ‘wide receiver’ very loosely – Eric Leak.
This link will take you to a thread discussing the situation and linking the blog entry from Darren Heitner that started the conversation. (Just another reason why you need to be visiting our message forums a few times a day as we can’t constantly link everything on the main blog.)
When you read Heitner’s article, you will probably be as confused as the rest of us — in short, the article is positioned to not really be claiming that a series of pretty benign events cannot be verified. No kidding!!
In short, the article claims that an anonymous ‘business manager’ to NFL prospects (whatever sad existence that must mean) allegedly says that ‘disassociated’ Eric Leak knows/has relationships with some current NC State student-athletes and, along with some guy named Damon McNair, is running the agent selection process for David Amerson.
Everything else in the story is actually weirdly funny — for example, in case you were not previously aware – some people traveled to Atlanta to watch NC State play Tennessee. Can you believe it? To this point, there are about 55,000 folks that I saw with my own eyes who traveled to the game that have not yet had an article written about them. And…get this…three or four of these people who traveled to Atlanta to watch a football game actually talked about football and football players while they were in Atlanta, including David Amerson!!! Holy cow…this story has more twists and turns than a Chris Hawkins driven U-Haul through Georgia.
For the record, a buddy of mine and I also traveled to Atlanta for the game. While there, we discussed how we wanted to be sports agents and wanted to represent Tennessee’s Tyler Bray. We actually met a member of Bray’s family and other Tennessee fans while walking through a hotel in Atlanta. I sent these revelations to many people in the media but for some reason I have not seen these scandalous details printed on the interwebs yet.
Since most of the media will fail to frame this through a factual lens and with any kind of perspective, allow me to make sure that I drill home a few FACTS that the good folks from NC State sent along to aid our search for truth.
(1) David Amerson talked to Eric Leak in June of 2012
(2) It IS NOT an NCAA violation for David Amerson to talk to Eric Leak.
(3) Per his disassociation letter, Eric Leak was notified by NC State that he is not to have contact with our current and future student-athletes in all sports for any purpose during the period of disassociation. This ban extends to all forms of in-person contact and all known or future methods of communication. It appears that Eric Leak is in violation of this letter.
(4) When NC State University knows about alleged or actual impermissible athlete agent activities, they refer such information to the North Carolina Secretary of State Athlete Agent Registration Office. This office is responsible for the administration of the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act (NCUAAA). NCUAAA requires any individual acting as an athlete agent in North Carolina to register with this office. The Athlete Agent Registration Office is available to:
– Respond to inquiries about registration requirements
– Provide information to the public about registered agents
– Investigate concerns or complaints about individuals or entities that may be acting in violation of North Carolina law
– Provide information about the regulation of athlete agents
(5) Based on the contact made in June of 2012 and in light of the recent article, NC State is notifying the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Athlete Agent Registration Office of this possible violation of the NCUAAA.
The fascinating irony here is the ONLY reason that this is a ‘story’ is because NC State and Debbie Yow have done their job so well that we were prepared for this. Eric Leak broke NC STATE’S RULES. David Amerson did not break any NCAA rules. Eric Leak effectively disobeyed Debbie Yow (and NC State) by violating the terms of our disassociation letter.
Get the picture? This has nothing to do with an NCAA standard. This is Debbie Yow and NC State being SO proactive and so involved in running a clean program that we were already position to block unwanted agent contacts that could jeopardize our student-athletes and our integrity.
At the end of the day, this is the college sports equivalent of a high school student disobeying his principal. The problem for Leak is that the rules that he disobeyed could have serious legal impacts to him if the Secretary of State ever investigates him. With history as our guide and realizing that Elaine Marshall has supposedly been investigating rampant agent activity at UNC-Chapel Hill for over two years, then I think Leak can expect the Secretary of State’s office to jump into this in at least a decade or two.
I LOVE how we proclaimed that “When NC State University knows about alleged or actual impermissible athlete agent activities, they refer such information to the North Carolina Secretary of State Athlete Agent Registration Office.” To whom do you think that was a reference?
See, when people have nothing to hide they speak up and they take action. They share information and state their innocence. They don’t hide behind bullshit FERPA laws. They don’t lawyer up. They don’t ignore legal rulings. They don’t ignore Freedom of Information Act requests. They don’t enter into secret meetings and executive sessions of board meetings. They don’t hire multiple public relations firms. They don’t hire high dollar consultants. They don’t hide.
Compare how our officials actually proactively cooperated and just handed over everything to the Secretary of State. That’s exactly OPPOSITE of what UNC continues to do in their agent scandal with the Secretary of State office as well as every other scandal at the University (which are too many to list here).
I’ve held to the following belief since the days of watching Dick Sheridan and Mack Brown run polar opposite programs — you can never completely control what young, impressionable college kids/athletes are going to do. But, you do have complete control over how you react to and deal with the mistakes the kids make.
Folks, the REAL story of the David Amerson situation is that the leadership at NC State continues to deal with problems in the right way by not stonewalling and covering up problems. You should be very proud of the no-nonsense proactive approach to integrity that our leaders continue to exhibit.
Post-script #1: Reading the reaction of NC State fans to this story on some message forums yesterday was somewhat disheartening. Quite a few fans went WAY over-board in their fear of what could happen to NC State in a situation where David Amerson and NC State broke ZERO NCAA rules.
Just so you can be reminded & clear how the NCAA punishment landscape works, I share the following edited quote from one of my favorite posters on Pack Pride’s message forums:
Even if Amerson has received wads of cash, mounds of jewelry, free access to cars, and paid trips to exoctic locations around the world; and even if he has received improper academic assistance from at least one tutor who was paid personally by the head coach of the football team and was no longer employed by the university; and even if that same tutor paid off thousands of dollars of his parking tickets for him with cash provided by the head coach of the team; and even if his mother was being paid the University and he decided to return to school next year; and even if he was only able to remain eligible by submitting plagarized work as his own and taking fake classes that he was steered to by a corrupt athletic advisory program; and even if Coach Reed was an agent himself; the worst thing that would happen to us would be a one-year bowl ban. The precedent has already been set.
See folks, the real world is very different than what you’ve been conditioned to think through years of media over-reaction (just like this situation) — We’ve got TONS of room between the way we run our program and the most basic of NCAA penalties.
But, just to be sure that we keep the Amersons happy and give David something to think about, I suggest that NC State immediately enter into discussions with Amerson’s mother about accepting a role as a key fund raiser at NC State. She really showed well in her media appearances yesterday and I think she would do a SUPER job at the University. I’m looking forward to seeing her, and her son in Raleigh next year!