October 12, 2010
In an explosive cover story by George Dohrmann, Sports Illustrated details how former NFL agent Josh Luchs paid more than 30 players during their college careers in an attempt to sign them as clients.
Luchs names dozens of NFL players he paid off, lists a few who refused his money and details the tactics used by agents both dirty and clean. It's an inside look at a world that's more corrupt than you can imagine. The story is fantastic, the writing even better. Read the whole thing.
Among the allegations* made by Luchs:
1. Mel Kiper made pre-arranged calls to a top agent, Gary Wichard, during meetings with college players. He says Kiper is thought to have ranked players who were represented by the agent more highly than others. ESPN is looking into the allegations.
2. He paid Ryan Leaf more than $10,000 throughout his final two seasons at Washington State, but the relationship soured when Luchs wouldn't pay the hotel tab for two of Leaf's buddies in Las Vegas.
3. Luchs also says he paid first-round picks Jamir Miller and Chris Mims.Miller was a linebacker from UCLA taken 10th by the Cardinals in 1994, and Mims, a defensive lineman from Tennessee taken 23rd by the Chargers in1992, but died in 2008.
4. Former Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend asked an 18-year-old Luchs to give him urine for a drug test while wearing silk pajamas and a smoking jacket and holding a glass of Grand Marnier. Luchs complied, but Townsend failed the test anyway because he was forced to take it in view of the tester. (It's not mentioned in the piece, but Townsend was barred from training camp for 30 days for testing positive for a trace amount of marijuana.)
* SI contacted many of the people mentioned in the story. Some confirmed Luchs' accounts, others denied them.
Luchs also says he didn’t pay players while working with Gary Wichard, the agentlinked to the Yahoo! investigation of NCAA violations at North Carolina. But he says Wichard and John Blake, the Tar Heels assistant who resigned amid the investigation, worked together in violation of NCAA rules in 2002.
Luchs definitely grinds some axes here, but he also implicates himself as a sleazy agent by divulging all his payoffs and illegal (NCAA) activities. Thus, I'm inclined to believe most of what he's saying. The only time he tries to paint himself as a martyr is when he defends himself about his suspension by the NFLPA.
Go read it if you haven't already, preferably while wearing a smoking jacket.
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