Is NCAA’s Agent For Change Completely Insane?

Last month the NCAA unveiled a blue ribbon panel to “tackle the complex issue of improper agent activity in college sports.”

Jimmy Sexton on NCAA agent panel with Jim Delany and Mike Slive

From NCAA website:

The group has identified opportunities for greater collaboration, including enforcement efforts, potential post-NCAA financial penalties, best practices for the effective enforcement of state agent laws, educational efforts, as well as an examination of the frequency and timing of agent contact with student-athletes.

Some of the biggest names in college and pro sports are on the panel, including Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian and Rachel Newman-Baker, the NCAA’s Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism.

And agent Jimmy Sexton.

In 2002, Sexton was party to one of the highest-profile cases of a NCAA football star squandering his eligibility perhaps because of his relationship with an agent.

On Jan. 25, 2002, the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported:

Receiver Donte Stallworth should have his eligibility reinstated, despite violating two NCAA rules after declaring himself available for the NFL draft for one day, Tennessee officials told the NCAA.

In a letter dated Jan. 16 and obtained by the Associated Press on Thursday, the university disclosed Stallworth received nearly $1,300 in benefits from an agent after declaring himself available for the draft.

The NCAA has not yet responded to Tennessee’s appeal.

Stallworth, a junior, sent the NFL on Jan. 10 a petition to make himself eligible for the draft early. He changed his mind the next day, and the NFL withdrew his name from the underclassmen draft list before the Jan. 11 deadline.

By making himself available, Stallworth’s eligibility was immediately revoked under NCAA bylaws even though his name was withdrawn.

During those hours his petition remained in effect at the NFL office, Memphis agent Jimmy Sexton bought Stallworth $13.60 in FedEx postage, a $48.60 dinner for two, a $6 ride to the airport, a one-day rental car for $151.92 and a $980 one-way airfare from California to Tennessee for his brother, the letter said.

Stallworth and the university maintained the player didn’t sign a deal to make Sexton his agent and received all the benefits before the Jan. 11 draft deadline. Sexton did not immediately return calls seeking comment. His mother, Donna, a nurse in Sacramento, declined to comment when reached.

Stallworth’s appeal to have his eligibility reinstated was subsequently denied by the NCAA, ending his career at Tennessee.

Tennessee Coach Phil Fulmer said at the time, “It’s discouraging to me that we have a young man who wants to come back to school and do the right thing. …That he digged deep in his own pockets to make the reimbursement.

On Nov. 7, 2004, the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL reported that Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton self-reported a SEC rule violation involving agent Sexton .

The SEC passed a rule in May stating that no sports agents are to be allowed on the playing field before, during or after a game. Hamilton said that before the Auburn game earlier this year, Sexton was seen crossing the back of an end zone with a Tennessee administrative staff member to get to the other side of the stadium where he owns a skybox.

Hamilton said. “Jimmy spent about five minutes on the field crossing it. The players were on the field warming up, but he had no contact with them. It was totally innocent.”

Despite what appears to be significant client loss in recent years, Sexton still boasts an impressive list of pro athlete clients. But he’s most known for representing college and pro football coaches like Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, Frank Beamer, Houston Nutt, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Parcells, Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano.

If you ever wondered how Kiffin landed the Tennessee job out of nowhere, understand that the current USC coach’s most important step in getting the Vols job was soliciting the services of Univ. of Tennessee grad Sexton.

Despite his renown for repping the coaching ranks, Sexton told Memphis Business Quarterly magazine in 2007 that revenue from those relationships only represented about 15 percent of his firm’s total yearly take.

So why then has Sexton taken on so many high profile college coaches?

Is it unreasonable to surmise that perhaps a direct line to a college football coach like Nick Saban might also provide an inside track to those currently populating that coach’s roster?

Last week Sexton renamed his agency to “SportsTrust Advisors.” Long known as “Athletic Resource Management,” Sexton reported the name change as the result of a merger with Pat Dye, Jr.’s agency.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the rebranding of Sexton’s agency comes as legal fallout from his former clients over failed investments appears to be reaching a crescendo.

Or not.

Last year the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL-APPEAL reported: Read more…

Let’s Stop With The Plaxico Sentencing Histrionics

After yesterday’s sentencing of Plaxico Burress to two years in prison, it seems like you couldn’t turn around without hearing another person wailing, “Donte Stallworth gets 26 days for killing a man and Plaxico gets two years for shooting himself? Where’s the justice! I thought this was America!”

Plaxico Burress

Okay. Back the truck up here. Stallworth and Burress’ cases have f–k-all to do with each other outside of the fact that both are in the NFL and they got sentenced in the same year. So let’s dispense with the flimsy comparisons of a DUI and a gun charge. And let’s also make one thing clear: Plaxico didn’t get two years for shooting himself.

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Can Braylon Edwards Freshen That Drink For You?

This photo is OK if you’re Charlie Sheen, or you have a bet with Big Enos Burdette that you and the Bandit can get all of this to Atlanta in 28 hours. But if you’re wide receiver and perennial screwup Braylon Edwards, perhaps it isn’t the best PR move of the century to be posing on your Facebook page with this much hooch.

Braylon Edwards

Not only did Edwards lead the league in drops last season, but he also failed his physical and injured himself in a pickup basketball game. And don’t forget the time he injured his foot when a teammate stepped on it because Edwards was running practice routes in his socks. But the bigger issue here, of course, is that Edwards was out drinking with Donte Stallworth on the fateful night of Stallworth’s DUI accident that claimed the life of a pedestrian. But welcome to my basement anyway! How do you like your martini? (Hick!) Read more…

Examiner Believes Mistress “Likely” Killed McNair

• A Tennessee state medical examiner says it’s “likely” that Sahel Kazemi was the one who shot & killed Steve McNair. But the case continues.

Sahel Kazemi Photo Steve McNairs Girlfriend Photo

• Phillies flatten Reds with a 22-1 drubbing - the worst in Cincy’s history.

• When it comes to major leaguers on rehab assignments treating their temporary minor league brethren to a fine meal, Manny’s a miser.

• The Tampa Bay Rays are suing a man for selling shirts with a supposed similar starburst logo.

• Prime suspect Mark Becker has plead not guilty in the shooting death of popular Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas.

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Tequila Binge Led To Stallworth DUI Manslaughter

A taped interview with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth, plus other evidence, was released on Tuesday by the Miami Beach Police Dept., shining a little light on the events that occurred prior to the auto accident that killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes on March 14. Stallworth, who is serving a 30-day jail sentence (not exactly the “Shawshank Redemption”) after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter in the case, said that he drank up to four shots of premium tequila while partying with friends at a Miami Beach club. But he did not feel drunk, he said, in the hours before he struck and killed the pedestrian with his car.

Donte Stallworth

When asked how many shots of tequila he had at the hotel that night (March 14), Stallworth said in an interview recorded by police that he drank some tequila from teammate Braylon Edwards’ table and later bought some shots himself. How many? “Three, four at the most,” Stallworth said. “I wasn’t really counting.”

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Jim Brown: Stallworth High During Fatal Accident

Jim Brown, self-appointed savior of the troubled black athlete, nosed his way into Donté Stallworth’s situation as a nominal member of the Cleveland Browns management team and joined Dan LeBatard on his Miami radio show to defend the young man, who will now be serving a month in prison for his involvement in the death of a pedestrian.  (Sorry, Brendan.)

Jim Brown Donte Stallworth

(Run, Donté! Jim Brown’s coming to help!)

While defending Stallworth, Brown also happens to drop that alcohol wasn’t the only “influence”-ing chemical in Stallworth’s bloodstream at the time of the crash.   Brown told LeBatard that Stallworth smoked marijuana the night of the accident, making it clear that he had a “very reliable source”.  Thanks for helping, Jim! Way to pitch in!

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Anna Rawson Makes Her GoDaddy Girl TV Debut

• It’s finally here: Anna Rawson’s first TV commercial as a GoDaddy Girl.

Anna Rawson

Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen are six months away from unleashing Superbaby onto our world.

• Count Brendan Haywood among those who aren’t pleased about Donte’ Stallworth’s light sentence. But Plaxico probably isn’t as judgmental.

• Wimbledon is worried about potentially massive match-fixing.

• Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since O.J.’s most memorable run.

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Donte’ Stallworth Staying In Shape With Plaxico?!

People are complex. They are not their stereotypes, and they are not only the bad things they do. Even the most habitual offenders of groupthink (usually stoners, hipsters, and, y’know, “thugs”) are, in nearly all instances, more than capable of a wide variety of views, emotions, and opinions.

Plaxico Burress and Donte Stallworth
Crazy like a fox, or crazy like a crazy person?

Associations do matter, though, especially when single issues define a person. Thus we had to shake our heads in amazement when we heard about Donte Stallworth’s off-season conditioning. As you’re no doubt aware by now, Stallworth is about to serve a 30-day jail sentence after his DUI conviction in the death of Mario Perez, a sentence some feel is inappropriate to convey the gravity of Stallworth’s crime. Even after the likely substantial suspension imposed by the NFL after his jail time, Stallworth still has the opportunity to put together an NFL career for a few more years, and it’s important for him to stay in shape in the meantime.

So as he awaited sentencing, he was still out there running hills with… Plaxico Burress? Oh, good lord, really?

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Speed Read: O.J. Simpson Chase, 15 Years Later

Wednesday was the 15th anniversary of the O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco chase, perhaps the most riveting low-speed pursuit of all time until James Harrison’s fumble return in this year’s Super Bowl. I wonder if someone baked O.J. a cake in jail? (I point this out basically so I can remind everyone that’s where he is right now - in jail. No matter how down or depressed I might get in life, I can now always remind myself of this and smile.)

OJ Simpson Bronco low speed chase

Of course, someone reminded me that O.J. Simpson spent more time in jail over the double murder of his wife and Ronald Goldman than Donte Stallworth will for his DUI manslaughter conviction - and O.J. was found not guilty. Which, of course, is another reminder of just how screwed up the criminal justice system is, causing me to start grinding my teeth again. But then I think: “O.J.’s in jail, trying to fend off the advances of Stickpin Bubba,” and I start to feel better again.

OJ Simpson

It’s amazing to me that, in a pre-9/11 world, the question of “where were you when O.J. ran?” was basically my generation’s version of the JFK assassination. How gloriously naive we were back then. I was home on summer break from college, having just returned from playing some basketball with my friends and sitting slack-jawed with my Mom as the whole thing unfolded. Now the whole thing seems like some dated bit of pop trivia - except for when Fred Goldman pops up to remind you that real people died, and he’d really like to see O.J.’s stuff get sold so he can get some of his money.

Matt Millen’s reputation isn’t as far in the gutter as O.J.’s, but after destroying any shred of hope that the Detroit Lions might have had for winning in the next 20 years, it isn’t good. Which makes you wonder how much credibility he’ll have working as an analyst for the NFL Network this season. But don’t worry, Matt: Don Banks from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is here to help, with what I assume was meant to be a puff piece on Millen but turns out to be a master class in unintentional comedy.

Matt Millen back on TV

First off, Banks’ main premise is that the stage is set for Millen to have a huge comeback - like Richard Nixon. Yeah, Nixon. Not Frank Sinatra or John Travolta or even Anvil, but Richard Nixon. A good rule of thumb: if you are comparing your interview subject to Richard Nixon in any way, you probably aren’t doing yourself any favors. At least he didn’t compare him to Hitler (that only happens in Detroit).

But it turns out that Matt Millen “admits to being something of a Nixon buff.” Of course he is. And much like Tricky Dick, Millen seems to see himself as the perpetual victim:

“I don’t go backwards,” Millen said. “I just don’t think like that. There’s nothing I can do about [Detroit]. All I can do is from here on out. I understand. In Detroit, they need a bad guy. I was a bad guy. I was to blame for the fall of the auto industry and the housing market. Somehow, I had something to do with [Detroit mayor] Kwame Kilpatrick [resigning], although I’m not sure what. But that’s what happens when you lose in this game. You give everyone a cheap and easy story to jump on.”

Right, because your gross incompetence in leading the Lions to the worst eight-year record in modern NFL history was “cheap and easy” and not at all deserved. Come on. I liked Millen a lot as an analyst, but to try and whitewash his awful tenure in Detroit is simply insane. But Banks seems to think that Millen’s career as an executive might not be over:

I’m intrigued with the idea that Millen, in this era of ultra-short attention spans and a 24/7 news cycle, can put his head down, go back to work at the TV and radio gigs he once excelled at, and re-emerge some day soon with a different reputation and image than he engenders today. I not only think it could happen, I’m convinced it will happen.

Don Banks is clearly off of his meds. Just hang tight there, Don: the men with the white jackets will be there soon to take you back to the funny farm. The idea that a team would be stupid enough to let Matt Millen anywhere near their personnel department is nuts. But then again, as long as Cincinnati is still in the league, anything is possible.

Finally, the Day of the Lakers wrapped up in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant appearing on the “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” to discuss winning his fourth NBA title. Nothing earth-shattering happened (no Triumph the Insult Comic Dog coming on to ask about Colorado), but there were a few decent moments. And seriously, Kobe couldn’t be bothered to get out of his tracksuit for the interview?:

More sports news to consider whether it’s OK to laugh at this window washer’s Wile E. Coyote-like tumble as he fell six stories before bouncing off a lower roof since somehow he lived to tell the tale:

Who is the best catcher of all time?

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Stallworth Gets 30 Days For Drunk Driving Death

• Cleveland Browns WR Donte Stallworth is sentenced to 30 days in jail in a plea-bargain agreement in the drunk driving death of Miami Beach pedestrian Mario Reyes.

Donte Stallworth in court

• The Famous Chicken may soon be nesting down in his retirement coop.

• Exciting times for Michael Strahan - he’s got a Fox “comedy” in the works, and he’s now engaged to Eddie Murphy’s ex.

• Speaking of bad shows, “Joe Buck Live” may not have a bright future - unless you consider foul-mouthed Artie Lange as your program’s savior.

• Soccer star Rio Ferdinand follows Cristiano Ronaldo’s fashion lead.

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