It's almost three years later, but an alleged $100 handshake between a runner for an agent and former Oregon offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou will reportedly result in criminal charges. Tim Norling, the runner at the center of the investigation, allegedly gave Tupou $100 after a lunch meeting in 2008, which Tupou self-reported to the Oregon athletic department shortly thereafter. Tupou served a one-game suspension, in the Ducks' season opener, and is now in the NFL.
The case is a landmark and represents the first time the Department of Justice will prosecute an agent for allegedly providing improper benefits to a college athlete. The Oregonian's Rachel Bachmann put together a quick story on the matter on Tuesday, sparked by testimony on Capitol Hill.
The Department of Justice confirmed months ago that it was pursuing a case - its first ever - against a sports agent but declined to say who the agent was. In Oregon, as in most states in the U.S., it is illegal to attempt to bribe or influence an amateur athlete.
From the allegations levied against Cam Newton's father to Sports Illustrated's Confessions of an Agent, improper benefits have been at the forefront in the last year. New NCAA president Mark Emmert has made it a priority to chase agents away from college athletes, taking an aggressive stance on the matter this year.
The NCAA faces an uphill battle, but perhaps the Justice Department stepping in and actually following through on charges will begin to dissuade some. With the NCAA working on one side to keep athletes from accepting improper benefits and the Justice Department threatening litigation on the other, it's a step in the right direction.
Again, though, there's a long way to go. And while the spotlight is shining on the issue brighter than ever, these problems have been around for a long time, and expecting improper benefits to disappear in a short amount of time is unrealistic.