A source told the Herald-Times that the NCAA eligibility issue that kept Jeremy Hollowell out for three games before his reinstatement involved contact between his family and an agent, but had no specific details of that contact, and Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com reported something similar on Friday night.
According to today’s statement by Fred Glass, Indiana will not address the issue until later this week. However, it’s still important to note the actual rules regarding agent contact in terms of student-athlete eligibility.
Most notable is the fact that simple contact between an agent and an athlete is not illegal by NCAA rules. Agent contact with a student-athlete is only a violation if the student-athlete takes some form of benefit from the agent or enters into an employment agreement with the agent. Those rules also extend to friends and family members, however, so it is possible for an agent to force a student athlete into a violation without even making direct contact with the student athlete himself.
An explanation for the NCAA’s rules on agents is linked here and pasted below.
Overview of NCAA Bylaws Governing Athlete Agents
Under NCAA Bylaw 12.3, a student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete’s ability or reputation. If the student-athlete enters into such an agreement, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.
Also, a student-athlete may not accept transportation or other benefits from an athlete agent. This prohibition applies to the student-athlete and his or her relatives or friends.
The term “agent” includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and financial advisors.
It is not a violation of NCAA rules if a student-athlete merely talks to an agent (as long as an agreement for agent representation is not established) or socializes with an agent. For example, a student-athlete could go to dinner with an agent and no NCAA violations would result if the student-athlete provided his own transportation and paid for his meal.
What happens if a violation occurs?
Example: A student-athlete is befriended by a runner for an agent. The student-athlete is unaware of the connection between the runner and agent. The runner gives the student-athlete long-distance calling cards, pays for meals, articles of clothing and a new car stereo. The student-athlete never asks why the runner is providing him with these items.
The student-athlete’s educational institution becomes aware of the runner’s identity and the provision of benefits to the student-athlete.
The institution must declare the student-athlete ineligible for intercollegiate competition. The institution decides to ask for the reinstatement of the student-athlete’s eligibility and sends a request to the NCAA staff.
At a minimum, the student-athlete will be required to repay the value of the impermissible benefits and will be withheld from a certain number of contests, based on case precedent.
All of that information combined — plus the insinuations in Fred Glass’s statements — suggests that if an agent provided any improper benefits, he did not provide them directly to Hollowell, because in that case, Hollowell’s reinstatement would most likely not be immediate.