There was much to digest out of the findings released earlier this week from the Pac-12 Conference basketball task force.
So much so that Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, busy this week with his year-end, one-on-one meetings with his players, understandably hasn't had an opportunity to absorb all 50 pages released in the report, which outlines a number of recommendations and proposals for changes to help clean up a sport rocked by scandal throughout the 2017-18 season.
Yet beyond some of the more obvious recommendations, like attempting to appeal to the NBA to end its one-and-done rule, was one nuance that caught Boyle's eye. While the tide of public opinion seems to be turning in regards to allowing basketball players and their families more routine access to agents and third-party professionals, Boyle is concerned about elevating the influence of figures whose own interests often supersede the interests of student-athletes.
"It's who has influence on these youngsters, and when third parties have influence, sometimes you're running into misuse. Not always, but sometimes," Boyle said. "Whereas usually moms and dads and high school coaches are in their lives because they love them and they care about them and they're not trying to make money off them.
"The possibility of players being able to get advice from agents earlier sounds good but there's always unintended consequences. What are the messages going into these kids and these families' minds from the agents? There's no silver bullet to these problems."
While soliciting advice from agents appears to be a low-risk, high-reward venture for can't-miss NBA prospects like Arizona's Deandre Ayton, Boyle believes allowing those same benefits to all players as a blanket rule will not always lead to the best interests of the student-athletes being fulfilled.
As an example, Boyle cites the myriad number of players that have matriculated through his program who, while NBA careers might be a stretch, nonetheless harbor very real prospects of beginning long and successful professional playing careers overseas. Boyle says the agents for those type of players often encourage their employees to leave school early to begin private workouts under the agents' supervision — essentially only about two months before graduation.
For the NBA prospects soon to be swimming in millions of dollars, this perhaps is not that big of an issue. For players embarking on a less certain road toward a fulfilling professional career, bailing on school so close to the finish line often creates unfortunate consequences.
"That's what I fight right now. That's what every college coach fights right now," Boyle said. "You're fighting agents who want to get these kids under their control, under their guidance. I understand that. But my message to (those players) is if they want you bad enough, they'll send someone to Boulder to work you out. Or they'll send us a workout and have us put you through the workout they would put you through.
"Then on a weekend, you want to fly there and work out? Great. Over spring break, you want to fly there and work out? Great. After finals, you want to go there and work out? Great. But don't stop going to school. If you count the number of kids that have done that, you'd be shocked."