Don't know if this was previously posted, but found it very positive. A tip of the cap to CNS ......... http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/football/ncaa/04/19/bc.fbc.athleteagents.ap/index.html BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Agents who want to entice Louisiana college athletes into abandoning school for a chance at professional sports could no longer use athletes' family members or other intermediaries as go-betweens, under legislation advanced by a state House panel Monday. Two popular football coaches -- LSU's Nick Saban and Southern's Pete Richardson -- testified for the bill, which also requires agents to give head coaches or athletic directors advance notice before talking to college athletes, and which severely tightens existing prohibitions on agents offering athletes money or other inducements. Saban said agents contacted and offered inducements of one kind or another to three of his players prior to LSU's Sugar Bowl matchup against Oklahoma for the BCS championship. He said there is even more activity by agents in light of a federal court ruling in favor of Maurice Clarett, who challenged the NFL rule that requires a player to be out of high school for three years before entering the draft. (Coincidentally, a federal appeals court later Monday blocked Clarett from entering the draft, pending appeals.) Saban added that students lured early into the pro ranks often find less success than they anticipated. And he said athletes who do find some early success find hardship later in life because they have no college degree. "If they do not graduate from college, they have no way to continue the lifestyle they had as a player," Saban said. Richardson and Saban both decried the role of third party intermediaries, often called "runners," who contact players on behalf of agents and who can put both the student and the school in danger of violating NCAA rules. The bill approved Monday by the House Commerce Committee adds provisions to an agent law passed in 1999, a year when scandals involving sports agent William "Tank" Black touched LSU and other schools. Already required to register with the state, agents would be required under the new bill to give a week's notice to the athletic director or head coach of a college athlete the agent wishes to contact. It would then be the coach or athletic director's duty to, within three days, talk to that athlete about the implications of talking with an agent -- including the possible loss of NCAA eligibility for taking anything of value from or signing a contract with the agent. The bill greatly tightens the state law prohibiting an agent from giving the athlete anything of value. While present law includes a $500 threshold in the definition of "anything of value," the bill changes that to include "any conceivable thing of the slightest value." Lawyers for the Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office and for LSU helped draw up the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. William Daniel, D-Baton Rouge, who also backed the 1999 law. Failing to register as an agent as required under the law means a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Violating other parts of the law can bring from $1,000 to $10,000 in fines and up to five years in prison. Black was eventually convicted and sentenced on federal charges in Florida and in Michigan on a variety of charges, including accusations that he swindled up to $12 million from professional football players he represented and that he laundered money for a drug ring. In Louisiana, a runner for Black, Randall "Banks" Menard, of Breaux Bridge, entered guilty pleas in 2000 on charges that included conspiracy to commit public bribery, for his contacts with athletes on behalf of Black.