Since reading Jim Bouton's, Ball Four there have not been many sports "tell-alls" that have excited me. Most of these books feel like a last-ditch attempt to scream, "Look at me!" to jump back into the spotlight for another five minutes. Most books in this so-called genre are told with ulterior motives and most lack any sort of story-telling flow or valuable revelations. So I was at first skeptical of Josh Luchs' new book, Illegal Procedure: A Sports Agent Comes Clean On The Dirty Business of College Football, which hit bookshelves today. But ever since the earth-shaking Sports Illustrated cover story in which Luchs first revealed just how extensively NCAA rules are flaunted in college football, Luchs has been nothing but consistent in his message, and steadfast in his desire to shine a spotlight on all of the gritty underpinnings of the sports agent industry.
Like bed bugs on a thousand-dollar mattress, Luchs exposes the skin-crawling truth under the glamorous surface of being a sports agent in a straight forward, yet entertaining manner in Illegal Procedure.
At times it is hard to believe that this naïve Jewish kid growing up in Beverly Hills, a real schmegegge at times, could do things like give an NFL star clean urine for a drug test or tap into his Bar Mitzvah money to bribe a college athlete. Yet while you want to hate the messenger, a man who admittedly flaunted almost every rule in the book, Luchs' honest and self-deprecating narration makes the reader empathize with an agent just trying to succeed in a broken system. Luchs masterfully weaves his personal life into this nonstop shocker of admissions and revelations about just how crooked the business of college football really is. He does so by dishing out the truth about hypocritical college coaches like Nick Saban, who grants his own agent unlimited access to the locker room while publicly referring to agents as "pimps," or devout Christian Jim Tressel, who rigged summer camp raffles to make sure his top recruits won prizes. Nobody is safe. NCAA Compliance Officers, NFLPA executives and even the hallowed lawyer are all exposed.
The best part about this book, though, is that it isn't just a tell-all. Luchs proposes a slew of well-designed proposals to fix the current, shattered state of big-time college athletics. There is a lot to learn from this book and it should be required reading for not only everyone in the sports industry, but everyone who cares about the well-being of college athletes, the game of football and the institutions that make up the NCAA.
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