Commentary: Dillon Baxter, Teague Egan, and Golf Cart Rides


USC deserves a lot of credit for being proactive, self-reporting the violation, and holding out Dillon Baxter as a precautionary measure. We have seen that the NCAA is an arbitrary governing body that rules as it pleases, and giving it more fodder would be a big mistake. However, I wonder how the NCAA plans to combat such violations. Do they expect coaches and compliance officers to hold players hands when they walk to class and tuck them in at night? If a fellow student can be an agent, there isn’t any place athletes can turn where they are safe from people hoping to represent them. The Dillon Baxter illustrates how easy it is to violate the principles of amateurism. Unfortunately, the NCAA has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of paranoia at USC.

Teague Egan deserves a lot of criticism for his actions Thursday. According to ESPN Los Angeles, the senior undergrad was warned not to give rides to student-athletes. In direct violation of that request, Egan provided Dillon Baxter with a ride. Without a doubt, serious disciplinary action needs to be taken against Egan. If this were anybody other than a student, they would already have been banned from campus for ignoring compliance’s request. While expulsion seems a bit harsh, USC needs to make sure that it takes some sort of serious action as a deterrent in the future. Since warnings don’t work, hefty punishments are the next step. Most importantly, his actions demonstrate that he doesn’t care about this school at all. If he did, he wouldn’t have put the future of USC players at USC in jeopardy. He directly violated the guidelines set forth by the school and acted unbelievably selfishly. USC is supposed to be built on family, but that principle takes a hit when one of your own isn’t willing to step aside and stop thinking their career is the most important thing in the world. 

How is Egan certified by the NFLPA? As I understand it, nearly all of those certified hold graduate degrees, but Egan hasn’t even received his bachelors yet. By granting Egan certification, the NFLPA created a huge conflict of interst and made it easier to violate NCAA rules because Egan has the advantage of seeing players around campus and even having them in some of his classes. If the NFL is serious about helping curb the agent problem, allowing college students to be agents is three steps in the wrong direction.

Despite the circumstances, I fail to see how Egan provided Baxter with an “extra” benefit given his statement to ESPN Los Angeles. Egan claims that he gives 15-20 rides per day to friends. If true, how can the NCAA view this as a violation because others are receiving the same treatment even though they aren’t athletes. By promoting such an atmosphere, the NCAA is essentially saying that they don’t want student athletes to have lives or friends. They want players to lock themselves in a room and avoid everything because breathing violates this golden principle of amateurism. In reality, the thousands of bylaws are an absolute farce. The system is broken when Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State can get arrested for a DUI and only have to sit out one game, but Dillon Baxter is ruled indefinitely ineligible (though likely it will only be for one game) because he rode in a golf cart to practice with a USC student who is an agent. Furthermore, Blackmon’s suspension wasn’t even handed down by the NCAA. Apparently, they are ok with players driving around drunk but completely against being a passenger in a golf cart. Correct me if I’m wrong, but driving under the influence poses an enormous danger to society, much more so than riding across campus in a tricked out golf cart. I am not an advocate of paying players, but some of the rules regarding players and their amateur status are absolutely ridiculous.