Rutgers fans have long desired a move into the upper echelon of college basketball, but that may now be happening in not quite the way that was originally intended.
Remember the September story in the New York Times about how Jack Ringel, Quincy's high school coach/advisor, brokered a relationship between his protegee and agent Andy Miller? Douby's former agent Keith Glass later accused Miller of tampering, prevailing in a summer arbitration hearing where this all first came to light. Today AOL Fanhouse's Sam Amick has brought several new revelations to light not covered in Howard Beck's original story from the Times.
And while the 40-page ruling that was obtained by FanHouse focuses mostly on how Miller orchestrated Douby's termination of Glass for his own benefit, a footnote on page 5 sheds light on the issue of side deals that so many agents say must be solved. According to the report, which was written by arbitrator George Nicolau, Ringel -- who coached Douby at Grady High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a father figure to him -- admitted taking $3,000 from agent Ken Glassman on behalf of Douby during his freshman season at Rutgers.
Ringel, who claimed the money was spent by Glassman to keep Douby away from other agents, testified that he wasn't aware that such practices were prohibited under NCAA rules but said, as the report reads, that he "would have accepted the $3,000 even if he had known." That one example, numerous agents say, is merely the tip of an enormous iceberg that doesn't appear to be melting.
Fanhouse has posted the 37-page arbitration ruling online, and this interchange is indeed present in the background section starting on page four. Leaving aside the issue of Ringel accepting kickbacks from agents, according to footnote 4 Douby "denied that he knew where the money, which he periodically received,
was coming from."
As far as the NCAA is concerned, that is no defense.
12.3 Use of Agents
12.3.1 General Rule. An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport.
18.104.22.168 Representation for Future Negotiations. An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if
he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport.
22.214.171.124 Benefits from Prospective Agents. An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she (or his or her relatives or friends) accepts transportation or other benefits from: (Revised: 1/14/97)(a) Any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. The receipt of such expenses constitutes compensation based on athletics skill and is an extra benefit not available to the student body in general; or
(b) An agent, even if the agent has indicated that he or she has no interest in representing the student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation and does not represent individuals in the student-athlete’s sport. (Adopted: 1/14/97)
Seems like a fairly cut-and-dry violation of 126.96.36.199(b) considering that Ringels admitted taking payments. Now the question becomes how the Rutgers athletic department will respond. They must certainly do their due diligence in investigating the matter. "Thanks" to the recent Josh Luchs story in Sports Illustrated, I know that the NCAA has a four year statute of limitations on past indiscretions.
32.6.3 Statute of Limitations. Allegations included in a notice of allegations shall be limited to possible violations occurring not earlier than four years before the date the notice of inquiry is forwarded to the institution or the date the institution notifies (or, if earlier, should have notified) the enforcement staff of its inquiries into the matter. However, the following shall not be subject to the four-year limitation: (Revised: 10/12/94, 4/24/03)
(a) Allegations involving violations affecting the eligibility of a current student-athlete;
(b) Allegations in a case in which information is developed to indicate a pattern of willful violations on the part of the institution or individual involved, which began before but continued into the four-year period; and
(c) Allegations that indicate a blatant disregard for the Association’s fundamental recruiting, extra-benefit, academic or ethical-conduct regulations or that involve an effort to conceal the occurrence of the violation. In
such cases, the enforcement staff shall have a one-year period after the date information concerning the matter becomes available to the NCAA to investigate and submit to the institution a notice of allegations concerning the matter.
With the alleged payment occurring in 2003-2004, the Bylaw Blog's discussion of last summer's widespread agent snare up are not relevant, assuming (b) and (c) do not apply. Basically, what did the basketball staff and athletic department know, and when did they know it. In the recent case involving UConn men's basketball, a former team manager-turned-agent (therefore, a UConn booster) gave benefits to a player, which their staff allegedly knew about.
Rutgers may fortunately avoid having to impose penalties like scholarship reductions or loss of practice time, but having a different coaching staff in place is no excuse for once fielding an ineligible player. The athletic department must respond swiftly and aggressively, firmly establishing a precedent that these actions are not to be tolerated. They have to launch an immediate, comprehensive internal inquiry, and fully-cooperate with any hypothetical investigation regarding 32.6.3.
Furthermore, if Douby is found to have taken improper benefits, then the athletic department has an ethical responsibility to fully-disassociate with him, permanently severing all past and future ties. Rutgers should and does demand a higher standard from its student-athletes. That means striking him completely from team record books, and even forfeiting any ill-gotten wins from his three seasons on campus, which no one can honestly argue were not largely, if not wholly-dependent on Quincy Douby's play. It would be a sad outcome for a player who was truly one of the best ever for Rutgers, and scored the sixth-most points in program history. The very integrity of the athletic department is at stake however, and that reputation trumps any one player.