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Texas Football Players Facing Short Suspension After Agent Meal

Bryan Fischer for

According to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, the University of Texas reported to the NCAA enforcement staff on June 6 that two Longhorn football players received a meal paid for by an agent. It wasn’t clear when the agent paid for the players’ meal, per the report.

According to the NCAA’s student-athlete reinstatement guidelines, the penalty for an impermissible benefit received from an agent is:

  1. Value of benefit is $100 or less = withholding of 10 percent and repayment;
  2. Value of benefit ranges from greater than $100 to $300 = withholding of 20 percent and repayment;

Unless this was a very expensive meal, the two Texas football players would likely be facing a one-game suspension, two at the most. That would be in addition to repaying the value of the meal. When evaluating the case, the student-athlete reinstatement committee has directed the NCAA staff to consider the following factors:

  1. The value of the benefit received by the student-athlete;
  2. The student-athlete’s awareness of the person’s agent status; and
  3. The student-athlete’s involvement in obtaining the benefit.

If those factors are in favor of the athlete, the suspension could be reduced. However, the guidelines also include this caveat:

The committee directed the student-athlete reinstatement staff to impose a minimum 10 percent withholding condition for any type of impermissible benefit received by a student-athlete from an agent.

So the NCAA staff could not provide relief from the suspension entirely. Only the committee can impose no suspension at all. So for the two players to have no suspension, Texas would have to get a decision from the NCAA staff then appeal it to the student-athlete reinstatement committee. But given the strong directive to the staff, no suspension at all will likely require compelling mitigation, more than the fact that the meal was inexpensive or the players did not know the person paying for the meal was an agent.

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