Source: NCAA Investigating Wall’s Link To Agent

TMZ.com reported early Friday “the NCAA is taking an aggressive look at University of Kentucky basketball players — past and current — and their possible involvement with professional agents.

John Wall Tweets About Reebok deal negotiated by Brian Clifton

(Wall’s former AAU coach negotiated new Reebok deal for former UK player)

More:

In the case of one former Wildcat, we’re told the NCAA wants to know about his relationship with his current agent. We’re told the investigator asked about multiple meetings the agent allegedly had with the player … dating back to the player’s senior year in high school.

The insinuation is the agent had an arrangement with the player before he went to Kentucky.

Such an “arrangement” would constitute an NCAA violation.

Today I looked into TMZ’s report and subsequently confirmed a former Kentucky player the NCAA is indeed investigating.

A college basketball source with knowledge of the investigation told me today that the NCAA is, once again, investigating the relationship between John Wall and longtime Wall associate Brian Clifton.

Wall had a close relationship with Clifton before attending Kentucky and played on a club team founded by Clifton before moving on to the Wildcats. Clifton claimed in 2008 to CBSSports.com that he was a certified player agent before creating founding the club team that Wall played on.

“Absolutely I was a licensed agent. But what I started and what I had given my life to was this [D-One Sports] program and I was about to watch it fall apart. Obviously I couldn’t let that happen. So at that time — after having not signed any clients — I figured that program was the most important thing for me. … And that was the end of the agent thing.”

Interestingly though, Clifton is now officially representing Wall under the auspices of his own management company, called “Pindar Enterprises.

On June 9, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported:

Reebok made an immense investment with the charismatic and explosive guard, believing that Wall can replace Allen Iverson as the brand’s superstar. Wall’s reps, Dan Fegan of Lagardere Unlimited and Brian Clifton of Pindar Enterprises, negotiated a rare two guaranteed signature shoes for Wall.

Wojnarowski and WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL reported the deal negotiated for Wall by Fegan and Clifton to be worth $25 million over five years.

So much for Clifton’s “end of the agent thing.

This is not the first time the NCAA has investigated Wall’s link to Clifton. In October 2009 the RALEIGH NEWS-OBSERVER reported:

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive told ESPN.com on Thursday that the NCAA’s agents and amateurism group is looking into the eligibility of Wall, who chose the Wildcats over Duke, Miami and Memphis, among others.

The Web site reported that Kentucky has been researching Wall’s eligibility for months because Brian Clifton, who is in charge of Wall’s D-One club program, was a certified agent with basketball’s international governing body, for about a year. Wall, a Raleigh product, played for the team from 2006 to 2008.

On Halloween, 2009, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported the result of that NCAA inquiry:

The school announced Friday that the 6-foot-4 freshman must sit out two games and repay almost $800 in expenses incurred during unofficial visits to schools during his junior year at Word of God Christian Academy.

Wall`s status had been up in the air as the NCAA investigated the relationship between Wall and Brian Clifton, his former AAU coach. Clifton was a certified agent for a period during Wall`s recruitment, and the NCAA looked into whether Wall accepted any illegal benefits from Clifton during that time.

Wall will miss an exhibition game against Campbellsville on Monday and the season-opener against Morehead State on Nov. 13.

Now to recap TMZ’s report earlier today:

In the case of one former Wildcat, we’re told the NCAA wants to know about his relationship with his current agent. We’re told the investigator asked about multiple meetings the agent allegedly had with the player … dating back to the player’s senior year in high school.

The insinuation is the agent had an arrangement with the player before he went to Kentucky.

It is a violation of NCAA rules for a student athlete to receive anything of value from an agent — or to have any agreements, verbally or in writing, with an agent.

Despite having no clients at the time, Clifton is on the record as saying he gave up being an agent to focus all of his efforts on an AAU/club team that Wall played on.

Then, after Wall left Kentucky, Clifton was back to the agent trade, repping Wall, his first and only client, during negotiations for the NBA player’s $25 million Reebok deal.

I’m told that a possible agreement between the two while Wall was a student-athlete is part of what’s at issue in the NCAA’s current investigation into the Kentucky basketball program.