Under-the-radar 'freelancers' a main source of college corruption
Imagine you are an investigator in the NCAA's Agent, Gambling and Amateurism division and you stumble upon O-D Life, a company based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that claims on its Web site to offer "exclusive client management" to athletes.
The company is operated by Matt Whittier and appears to be a one-stop concierge business for professional athletes. Among the services that O-D Life claims to offer: "Business Management & Development," "Wealth Management," "High-Profile Investments," "Public Relations & Marketing Services," "NFL Rules Advisement" and "Family & Substance Abuse Counseling."
Whittier is neither a lawyer, nor a registered financial advisor, nor a counselor. He does help operate Offense-Defense Sports, or O-D Sports, which runs youth football camps all over the country. That gives Whittier access to some of the nation's best talents at a young age, and he boasts that more than 350 O-D Sports alumni have played in the NFL.
There is one notable omission from O-D Life's long list of services: It doesn't represent athletes in contract negotiations. It offers to help clients vet agents -- to alert them to those known for "unscrupulous practices" -- but technically O-D Life is not a sports agency, and Whittier is not an agent. This is an important distinction, because it means that O-D Life is not subject to the rules and regulations of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), which certifies player agents; and, depending on one's interpretation of a particular state's sports agent laws, O-D Life and Whittier may not be governed by those, either. The company operates in a vast gray area, free to contact and assist college athletes without restraint (and, if it serves its purpose, to heap rewards upon them).
Read more: Freelancers part of Reggie Bush case, college sports corruption - George Dohrmann - SI.com
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