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T.J. SIMERS

Teague Egan, the student agent with the golf cart, could be taking USC on a dangerous ride

Egan says he wants to 'represent every USC kid' in the NFL, but his friendships with Trojans players such as freshman running back Dillon Baxter could represent trouble with the NCAA. The big mystery: Why did the NFL Players Assn. certify him as an agent?

November 29, 2010|T.J. Simers

Meet Teague Egan, noted golf cart chauffeur, and the country's first certified NFL student agent, well meaning, he says, but with the potential to destroy USC's hopes of recovering from NCAA sanctions.

A budding entrepreneur, Egan is probably known best in USC circles for not knowing the rules as a certified NFL agent, resulting in the one-game suspension of Dillon Baxter.

His goal now is to represent four to six of his friends, who also happen to be USC football players, in the upcoming NFL draft — signing them as clients as soon as Sunday.

He says he has no written agreement or understanding with any of the football players, which would be an NCAA violation. But he knows his friends, he says, and he knows it will happen.

"Like [NFL agent] Drew Rosenhaus who represented every Miami kid after going to school at Miami," he says. "I intend to represent every USC kid."

It prompts the question — does USC have enough compliance officers on staff?

Anywhere else maybe it's just an offbeat story, but holy Reggie Bush, it sure looks like the wrong place and wrong time to interject a headstrong 22-year-old student agent.

"I was in the bar the other night and all of them [football players] came in," Egan says. "We were all there together and they said they had my back; we're still all friends. They said it's absurd they are being told who they can and can't be friends with."

Did you buy them a round of drinks? I asked, knowing he's an agent looking to sign clients and the fact his dad owns Alamo Car Rental and has been funding his son's efforts.

"No, not anymore," he says, the "anymore" just one more concern for USC's compliance officers.

Under National Football League Players Assn. guidelines, once Egan became certified Oct. 1 as an agent, he could no longer have any relationship with his "friends," if they were underclassmen football players. But as Egan will tell you, Baxter is one of his friends. Baxter is also a freshman.

"When he became an NFL agent, he poisoned the well," says David Roberts, USC's vice president for athletic compliance. "And everybody who works for him is painted with the same brush."

Egan and his partners contend they were friends with football players long before he became an agent. It's the rebel in him. He would prefer to argue the validity of the rules now, and changes that should be made, rather than necessarily following them.

As Egan will tell you, he's got places to go — even if it is in a golf cart, which has not been registered per USC rules and never should have been on campus.

"My aspirations and goals are bigger than anybody you have ever met in life," Egan says, and he certainly sounds like Drew Rosenhaus.

As ambitious as Egan is, the NFLPA essentially legitimized a "runner" in certifying a USC student an agent. It's a dreadful precedent at a time when officials are already talking about the need for more control over agents and runners.

In this case, sometimes a friend, as far as players are concerned, and sometimes an agent, who admits, "I can afford to pick up the tab for friends, because I come from a blessed background."

The NFLPA has some explaining to do, which is going to be hard to do if officials remain in hiding. I understand the NFLPA's embarrassment.

The NFLPA doesn't certify anyone as an agent unless they have both undergraduate and advance degrees. Egan doesn't graduate until May.

Egan asked for a waiver based on his experience as a negotiator, his whole, short life already an experience.

In high school he spent $4,000 of his dad's money trying to develop a bottle with two compartments to make it easier to pour mixed drinks. He put together a plan to put a retractable roof over the Miami Dolphins' stadium, flying around the country to talk to experts.

He moved on to college, noticing there were no fast food places near the USC freshman dorms. He wanted to open a pizza parlor.

Later he went into the party business, calling it "1st Round Entertainment." He promised downtown L.A. clubs large crowds in exchange for a percentage of drinks sold. To draw crowds, he offered free admission, a free drink and limo rides.

"We had four limos and piled 50 kids at a time into them," he says. "Cost us $1,100."

Egan says he, along with three student partners, took a loss on the four parties they arranged. But it still met with NFLPA approval.

Fast forward to summer 2009, Egan's 21st birthday and a vacation in Nantucket. He's no struggling entrepreneur.

He's listening to a pair of rappers and gets the idea to start 1st Round Records. He signs Sam Adams when maybe other kids would've been drinking them, and a short time later Adams' "Boston's Boy" album is No. 1 on iTunes. Then Egan opens an office at Sunset and La Brea. Doesn't every college senior?

How appropriate that one of Adams' songs is "Driving Me Crazy," USC blindsided by the NFLPA's willingness to certify one of its students as an NFL agent and now trying to get a grip on it.

"It's unfortunate, but he's got the keys to a pretty powerful machine," Roberts says. "And unless it's operated properly and ethically, there could be consequences for a lot of people."

Egan has no such concerns, he says, shifting his attention to discussions he's currently having with Lady Gaga's manager and a possible partnership with Anil Ambani, the sixth-richest man in the world.

Believe him or not, maybe think of him as a rich kid at play or the next millionaire, but before he heads off to his macroeconomics class, he says, "I'm just getting started."

And here USC thought it might finally be finished with the NCAA.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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