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Veteran Agent Ralph Cindrich: Better Than 70, 75 Percent Of Players Have Broken Rules

Veteran Agent Ralph Cindrich: Better than 70, 75 Percent of Players Have Broken Rules

It seems fair to say that the Sports Illustrated article in which former NFL agent Josh Luchs comes clean — while naming names — about paying potential clients and sheds light on the profession of sports agents has sent shockwaves through the sports community. It has also created just as many, and probably more, questions than it has helped generate answers.Are all of his stories true? How many agents followed his style of business over the years? What percentage of players have broken the rules? And that’s just the beginning.The article has plenty of folks trying to respond to those questions. And while we may never know the full answer to most of them, hearing the opinions of those who have been around it can only shed more light.Veteran sports agent Ralph Cindrich joined 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh with Vinnie & Cook to discuss his reaction to the Luchs article, how widespread he believes the issues with agents and college athletes is, on the hypocritical system set forth by the NCAA, whether the practices can be cleaned up and whether agents can operate cleanly today.

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On his reaction to reading the Luchs article:

“All true, seen and heard it before. Also, a little ticked off because a lot of those guys I had spent a lot of money on, and time, just going out and trying to visit with them and realizing that they were already locked.”

On whether he’s ever had the feelings Luchs described, particularly the feeling of a girlfriend that’s about to break up with you:

“First off, and I think you know this, but I can say it unequivocally, publicly, privately, there’s a rat around every corner, so if it’s not true then someone would come out. I never, ever in my life participated in that type of conduct. I never broke, to my knowledge, a single rule, and certainly never consciously. So, in that type of situation, no. Been in that situation maybe where a client, where you get a termination, you can get that type of feeling.”
On how widespread he believes the problem is and whether he ever was asked to outbid other agents:
“It did, maybe a time or two. Generally, with the way that I would come on and just the approach that I would take, they would know that I wasn’t that type. … After the season and all the rest, it’s not illegal or prohibited by any of the rules [to ask for money]. But as far as it being widespread, I don’t know how anybody can put a number on it. I always had people around me telling me that I was highly naive, but I would suggest at this point that better than 70, 75 percent of the players have broken the rules.”

On whether the system is corrupt and hypocritical:

“Hypocritical might be the better term. Corrupt, only because it is put that way by the NCAA. I, for one, didn’t think that Reggie Bush should have to give up his Heisman Trophy. If you go back and you look at all the guys, in this particular case, who were documented by this agent, I’m sure there are a few championships that were on the line there that maybe someone could go back on. You start it to where it never ends. Looking at it from a player’s point of view, basically a lot of these guys come from poor backgrounds. Do they get a free scholarship and three squares? Yeah, they do, but it’s not enough to live like an everyday student out there. A lot of them are just pure greedy and they’re thinking, ‘Hey, this is my time and I’m going to take it and I’ll take it from as many guys as possible.”

On whether there’s anything you can do to stop it:

“One of the things may well be, why not make it like any other business? I mean, who set up these rules? They were paying guys back in the Knute Rockne days. … It’s one of those to where it’s been an age-old problem and this whole NCAA student-athlete thing is a farce. It’s a fraud. Get rid of it. If you despise the agents so much out there, I’m saying to them, let them go out there and pay all the players then. As long as they’re going out and playing, what’s the difference? Now, do I totally agree with it? No.”

On whether you can be a clean and successful agent these days:

“I don’t think you can clean it up unless the whole system changes. I think it’s here and it’s always going to be here and it always was there. It just wasn’t as bad when I was coming through. Certainly, you didn’t have it in the same manner or fashion as you have it right now. … It does all start in college. It starts with coaches like [Nick] Saban out there, like [Urban] Meyer out there and the promises. Look, you don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to know that when you go out into the parking lot of college players and you start seeing Range Rovers and Mercedes and all the rest that these guys didn’t pick it up in their summer employment.”

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