Dick Harmon: Agents may not always be looking out for their clients

Published: Friday, May 6 2011 8:00 p.m. MDT

And for Siliga, nothing like a senior season in the Pac-12 would have sold it any better.

Aside from that, think of the experience of a senior year playing for a berth in the Rose Bowl.

Free agency isn't a bad way to go, but it isn't always a lucrative prospect. It is a road teammate Zane Taylor and BYU safety Andrew Rich must take. But this year, with this bargaining issue, a possible lockout or shortened season, free agents will be cheated the most.

Siliga deserved more.

What if he had just waited?

It's a situation that has college football coaches across the land hot — the infringement of sports agents preying on their players.

This past year, with flareups at Alabama, North Carolina and other schools, it became headline news. It ultimately led to the suspension of some Tar Heel players and was the foundation of USC's major NCAA violations and penalties issued a year ago in the Reggie Bush case.

I am not inferring Siliga or his agent did anything wrong or broke the rules. But the access to an agent changed the landscape for Siliga — and I say it wasn't good for him or the Utes.

Coming out early worked for teammate Brandon Burton. But it never was good for the D-tackle.

Remember Nick Saban's rant last summer? It was Saban's Alabama program that suspended All-American tackle Andre Smith for the 2008 Sugar Bowl with Utah when Smith refused to answer questions about his involvement with an agent.

Said Saban, "I'm about ready for college football to say, 'Let's just throw the NFL out. Don't let them evaluate players. Don't let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.' If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?

"Right now, agents are screwing it up. They are taking the eligibility of players. It's not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else."

Access to players by agents while their eligibility remains intact is a dangerous thing. Remember the Sports Illustrated piece that chronicled the confessions of an agent out of control?

That wasn't the case here at all. But still, it can be an issue anywhere.

Sealver Siliga needed Utah, and the Utes needed Siliga in 2011.

It is not to be.

And that is sad.

email: dharmon@desnews.com

Twitter: Harmonwrites

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