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SBD/Issue 62/Collegiate Sports
IMG Intercollegiate Forum: Bill Curry Talks About State Of CFB
Published December 9, 2010
|Bill Curry Discusses Possible Funding For
College Athletes, Role Of Player Agents
Southern football icon and Georgia State Univ. coach Bill Curry opened the mid-morning session at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum hosted by SBD/SBJ with stories from his 10-year NFL career and coaching stints with Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky. SportsBusiness Journal writer Michael Smith asked Curry what he thought about today’s game.
Q: We’ve heard a lot of buzz in college football about amateurism and pay to play in the news recently. What are your thoughts on this?
Curry: When I was working for ESPN I realized I had a responsibility to protect the amateurism of sports in college. I started studying about corruption in the sport and the history. My wife is a History PhD and she took me to Greece, site of the original Olympics. I learned about how there were cash settlements and corruption, how the only thing that counted was the gold medal. It folded because of corruption and illegal payoffs. I said, son of a gun, doesn’t that sound familiar? Are we going to let this happen to our sport? History says yes, if we don’t learn the lessons of the past. I hope we don’t.
Q: There have been a lot of stories on the influence of agents in the world of collegiate sports. What can you tell the conference about what you saw from agents during your career?
Curry: It’s a complicated scenario because some of the finest human beings I know are agents. Some of the least responsible and devious have also been agents. It’s the coach's job to know who is in the locker room. What happens is you have folks show up in the locker room, and all of a sudden there is some good buddy taking your player to dinner or some other places. Are they going to be handing out $50 bills and taking my player to Las Vegas for a cocaine party? These are things that have happened to players of mine. Athletic departments and coaches have a monumental task to know what is going on. But you have to know.
Q: How long do you think you’ll keep coaching?
Curry: Wow… (long pause) I didn’t expect that question. It chokes me up to think about not doing it. I start to think about missing out on my grandchildren growing up. Joe Paterno is my hero and one of my best buddies. I will not be like Joe. I promised that to [wife] Carolyn and Sue Paterno. He is doing the right thing for him. I’m going to do it for as long as it makes sense to Carolyn Curry and those children that I coach.