Jay-Z might have put the University of South Carolina’s 2013 football campaign in jeopardy. “Inside the League,” a football insider website, has taken note of potential inappropriate interactions between Jay-Z’s sports agency and junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a star on the South Carolina team and a bright prospect for the 2014 NFL draft. Clowney would likely have been a top pick in the 2013 NFL draft if he’d been eligible, largely due to the publicity surrounding the following hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith:
NCAA regulations strictly govern the interaction between future NFL stars and sports agents. Jay-Z has a burgeoning sports representation agency, Roc Nation Sports, which represents athletes such as the NBA’s Kevin Durant. According to “Inside the League,” Clowney has been in “regular contact” with the agency. If any sort of agreement between the player and the agency is established, Clowney’s college eligibility will be compromised.
After “Inside the League” posted the report, an Instagram account attributed to Clowney linked to it, adding “You kno [sic] we about to turn up. Dream coming true.”
That dream apparently has little to do with collegiate glory.
Clowney had reportedly considered sitting out his final season at South Carolina to avoid the possibility of a career ending injury (or draft compromising performance). According to head coach Steve Spurrier, “All of our conversations [with Clowney] are wait until you have played your last game at South Carolina. When the bowl game is over this coming season he's free to accept any amount of money anybody wants to give him. But until then he has to be a student-athlete like all the other guys or he's not going to be eligble. He's done a good job of knowing that."
NCAA regs prohibit current college athletes from agreeing to representation by any agent. Any athlete who does so is declared ineligible, though mere communication with an agent is not prohibited. So if Clowney’s alleged “dream coming true” comment has nothing to do with representation by Roc Nation, then there’s nothing to worry about. To that end, some sportswriters have been wary of damning Clowney:
OK, to clear this up at once, under NCAA rules, Clowney and Jay-Z can talk as much as they want, so long as no agreement, oral or written.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 23, 2013
To which Paul Myerberg of USA Today responded: "Can even eat at the Ritz together, as long as Clowney pays for himself."