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Anchor Drop, August 8, 2019: 23 Days to Kickoff

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Morgan Baxendale and Auston Kim are out of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning.

We are now 23 days away from Vanderbilt football’s season opener against Georgia. #23 for the Commodores is DB Jaylen Mahoney. Mahoney, a 5’11”, 183-pound freshman from Rock Hill, South Carolina, was a three-star recruit who initially committed to Wake Forest before flipping to Vanderbilt. Take that Demon Deacons.

And just like that, Vanderbilt’s two golfers are out of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. In the first round of match play, Morgan Baxendale lost 5&4 to Lucy Li, while Auston Kim lost 6&4 to Brooke Matthews.

ICYMI: Vanderbilt released its 2020 football schedule.

In a free article on 247 Sports, Gerry Gdowski somewhat updated the quarterback competition and gave some insight into his thinking:

“When I look the quarterback position, ball security is the No. 1 thing. You gotta possess the ball,” Gdowski said. “You gotta be able to execute the offense. The guys that kind of separate themselves are the ones that can makes plays their own a little bit, too, whether it’s something with their feet, something with their mind as far as making a check or doing something at the line of scrimmage.

That’s where sometimes I think the great and good can kinda separate themselves in that regard.”

Off the West End

So, the NCAA has proposed a new rule for agents representing basketball players who are testing the waters for the NBA Draft.

This proposal, of course, was met with extremely predictable backlash from all sorts of quarters. That’s only one example, of course; since this is an NCAA rule, everybody is very much out to let you know that this is yet another example of the NCAA showing that it doesn’t care about athletes, who should be allowed to hire whomever they want to represent them because, uh, freedom, I guess. LeBron James even dubbed this the “Rich Paul Rule” after his own agent (who, as America and also, probably, the NCAA learned approximately Monday, does not have a bachelor’s degree) because under this rule, Rich Paul would be excluded from representing any prospective NBA player who wants to keep open the possibility of returning to college.

So, let’s blow past RIch Paul for a minute — who, it should be pointed out, isn’t terribly interested in representing fringe draft prospects (he’s interested in future lottery picks, but those guys wouldn’t care about maintaining their eligibility), and who, if he did want to represent such players, has people working for him who can meet this requirement. Let’s also blow right past the fact that the NBPA also requires agents to have a bachelor’s (though the NBPA will waive this requirement if you can demonstrate that you have significant experience negotiating contracts.)

This isn’t a bad rule. Let me explain why.

As somebody who, in real life, works in an industry that has onerous requirements for admission — a law degree (three years), which you can’t get unless you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree (four years), then sitting for the bar exam — I can tell you that while the regulations don’t keep out all of the idiots and scam artists, there are certainly fewer of those than there would be in a world where those requirements simply didn’t exist. Requiring a bachelor’s degree might technically keep Rich Paul from representing a fringe prospect who just wants an idea of where he might go in the draft and what his options are if he doesn’t get drafted; it also keeps out a large number of people who aren’t Rich Paul and who frankly have no business representing anybody in a contract negotiation. And as far as the requirement that you be certified with the NBPA for a minimum of three years, if you’re a lawyer of any stripe, you’ve probably known at least one other lawyer — and probably more than one — who’s sat for one of the major players’ association agent certification exams. Most of them, even if they pass, have never represented a professional athlete in contract negotiation — hell, some of them have never represented anyone in a contract negotiation — and most of them likely never will.

And that’s what this is really about. With the amount of money involved in professional sports contracts, there’s often an incentive for people who are in way over their head — or, even worse, people who are mostly looking to get a cut of the professional athlete’s money for no particular reason — to serve as a player’s “agent.” If I wanted to, I could probably jump through all the hoops to meet the NBPA certification. Meanwhile, Darius Garland’s rookie contract will pay him $13 million guaranteed, and $29 million if the Cavaliers pick up both of his team options. Were Darius Garland to hire me as his agent for 5 percent of the contract amount, I’d get at least $650,000 and possibly as much as $1.45 million out of the deal.

Tell me: is this a better deal for Darius Garland or for me? Don’t answer that question, because it should be obvious.

And I’m probably more honest than somebody else who might convince the player to sign on with his Bernie Madoff-wannabe “financial advisor,” as well as the rest of his crew. Remember, a large number of professional athletes go broke because, well, the people around them who are supposed to be trustworthy actually aren’t.

I mean, is it really such a bad thing to require that the people advising impressionable 19-year-olds making an important life decision actually be legitimate sports agents who know what they’re doing instead of some criminal defense lawyer in Dallas who sat for the NBPA certification exam and who’s never actually negotiated a contract, let alone with a professional basketball team? Call it paternalism if you want; there are valid reasons to regulate this as much as possible.

Scoreboard

MLB: Mets 7, Marlins 2 ... White Sox 8, Tigers 1 ... Indians 2, Rangers 0 (Game 1) ... Blue Jays 4, Rays 3 ... Braves 11, Twins 7 ... Astros 14, Rockies 3 ... Cubs 10, A’s 1 ... Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1 ... Nationals 4, Giants 1 ... Indians 5, Rangers 1 (Game 2) ... Mariners 3, Padres 2 ... Brewers 8, Pirates 3 ... Yankees 14, Orioles 2 ... Royals 4, Red Sox 4 (suspended) ... Diamondbacks 6, Phillies 1.