Both the Pac-10 and the NCAA investigated reports that Caron supplied players with money, airline tickets, pagers and other gifts. On Sept. 28 Southern Cal suspended three starting football players who had ties to Caron: linebacker Errick Herrin, defensive lineman Israel Ifeanyi and running back Shawn Walters. Caron's alleged provision of a bag of groceries to UCLA linebacker Donnie Edwards led to the player's suspension for last Saturday's game against Arizona—though Edwards maintains he did not know the groceries were from Caron. The agent's relationships with other Pac-10 players as well as with athletes at Utah and North Carolina are reportedly being investigated.
On Oct. 6 USC filed suit against Caron and his company, Pro Manage, charging interference with the school's contractual relations with its athletes. It was believed to be the first suit filed by a school against an agent. After the settlement Caron admitted that "there were indiscretions that shouldn't have been done" but said he felt he "got beat up a bit" and acknowledged no legal culpability. Caron had previously argued that agents are not governed by NCAA rules and thus cannot be held accountable for violations.
Therein lies the nasty Catch-22 at the heart of the agent dilemma. The NCAA, as fed up as it is with unscrupulous agents, has no jurisdiction over them. Pro player associations, which do have the power to decertify agents, have done little or nothing to curb misconduct involving college players. And the laws that regulate agents in 22 states either lack teeth or aren't stringently enforced. As Southern Cal football coach John Robinson says, "The only consequences are paid by the athletes. The agents fade into the night like drug dealers. Nothing happens to them."
For now the burden of control rests on the schools themselves. "I hope if it ever happens to us," says Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, "we'll have the guts to do the same thing that USC did."
One Fish, Two Fish, Set, Hike
When Case Western Reserve and College of Wooster play football, as they did last Saturday, it's enough to set schools of fish aquiver. Every season since 1984 the Division III Ohio rivals have competed not only for a North Coast Athletic Conference victory but also for an ever-growing trophy that is shaped like a string of fish.
The brass trophy was established by brothers Robert and William Baird, fishheads and economic professors at Case Western and Wooster, respectively. Each year, as part of a wager between the Bairds, the brother whose school wins the game must catch a fish, a replica of which is added to the string. What's more, the new addition should be roughly equal in inches to the margin of victory.
Years past have yielded a nine-inch pike and a 12-inch catfish, but Wooster's 14-13 win last Saturday could have guppies swimming for cover. Then again, Wooster just might have to throw this one back.
A Tight Spot for a King
To win a conviction of fight promoter Don King, government prosecutors in King's insurance-fraud trial, which is in its second week in a New York City federal court, must convince the jurors that King illegally altered a fight contract to collect on an insurance claim. The prosecution contends that in 1991 King submitted a fake contract to Lloyd's of London to recover $350,000 after a bout between Julio Cesar Chavez and Harold Brazier was canceled because Chavez's nose was gashed while he was training for the fight. Government lawyers say King's M.O. was simple: He retyped the first page of a two-page contract, attached it to the page already signed by Chavez and told Lloyd's of London it was the authentic contract.