Alabama investigating star defender Dareus

USC. Florida. Why not Alabama?

In the wake of the NCAA disciplining the Trojans for the Reggie Bush fiasco, no major program is safe from an investigation — external or internal. And a report on Tuesday stated that Alabama officials are now investigating whether junior defensive lineman Marcell Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending an agent's party in Miami's South Beach earlier this summer — the same bash in question in the Marvin Austin case at North Carolina.

NCAA and school officials are curious as to who paid for the players’ transportation to Miami, as well as the lodging, food and entertainment while they were there. South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders was also interviewed by investigators about his involvement in the gathering.

Dareus, one of the top defenders in the nation and a potential top-ten pick in the 2011 NFL draft, is the latest star to be questioned in a thorough investigation into illegal contact and conduct by sports agents.

In 2009, Dareus finished with 33 tackles, nine tackles for loss and a team-high 6.5 sacks. He returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in the Crimson Tide's victory over Texas in the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.

While the Florida investigation involving former Gators offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey appears to be a separate incident, it’s another example of the recent crackdown across the nation involving agents’ pursuit of future NFL talent.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban confirmed that the UA compliance department is “looking into” the situation involving Dareus but declined further comment Tuesday. However, he did express concern that agents’ activity is becoming more unregulated than ever, putting the eligibility of players at risk.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he would like the NCAA to consider changes to rules involving agents.

“The agent issue is one that's been of concern not only to us but I think to everyone associated with intercollegiate athletics, and I do think it's time to re-examine some of the NCAA rules that relate to agents,” he said. “I have felt for a long time that it would be helpful to be able to provide student-athletes with more information and more opportunities to learn what their professional potential might be than is currently allowed by NCAA rules.”

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