What role do agents play in all of these coaching rumors? I'm sick of Jimmy Sexton's SEC clients (Nick Saban, Tommy Tuberville, Steve Spurrier and Houston Nutt) being mentioned as "potential candidates" for every major opening on the planet. Why does the media allow this guy to manipulate them just so that his clients can get leverage in negotiating with their current schools?
--Jeff, Columbia, Mo.
They play a bigger role than you can possibly imagine. Ballpark estimate: 70 percent of the stories you read about some seemingly random coach being linked to a coaching opening are probably a result of the coach's agent -- or the agent of another candidate in the running for that job -- floating it to a reporter. Houston Nutt, in particular, has "turned down" more jobs he was never in the running for than any coach I know.
Why do the reporters go for it? Because eventually the agent will return the favor and feed him the "scoop" when one of his candidates actually accepts a job (or if he finds out someone else's candidate has been offered the job).
Hats off to Mandel for admitting what a whole lot of his collegues won't. Agents in general--and Jimmy Sexton in particular--play the sports media the way Eddie Van Halen plays a customized Stratocaster.