Sport: Tough Message: A verdict on agents and colleges

A verdict on agents and colleges

Officially there were only two defendants in the five-week federal trial in Chicago. Norby Walters, 58, and Lloyd Bloom, 29, New York City-based agents for professional athletes, were charged with reaching into college ranks and illegally plying hot prospects with cash, cars and other perks for signing premature, postdated contracts. But the agents' lawyers maneuvered strenuously to shift the indictment's focus. Their target: the system of big-time college athletics that, with box-office and TV profits at stake, often looks the other way when stars get improper favors and that condones specious academic regimens to maintain those stars' eligibility.

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