AGENT MIGHT FACE PENALTIES : CARON GAVE GIFTS TO PLAYERS.
Robert Caron, the Oxnard-based agent whose attempt to curry favor with Shawn Walters led to the USC tailback's suspension a year ago, is facing disciplinary action from the National Football League Players Association.
Caron faces penalties ranging from suspension or complete decertification, an NFLPA spokesman said.
A hearing is scheduled Friday in Virginia. Both Caron and the NFLPA will present their cases to an arbitrator.
The NFLPA is seeking action against Caron for conduct that is believed to focus on his involvement with USC players, which ultimately led to the suspension of three Trojans.
Walters, Israel Ifeanyi and Erric Herrin were suspended from the Trojans football team after it was discovered they had received gifts and favors from Caron.
Walters was punished most severely, receiving a 12-game suspension between last year and this season.
Caron subsequently was sued by the university and was ordered to pay $50,000 in damages.
``I was just told that there would be a hearing,'' Caron said Wednesday, declining further comment.
If the arbitrator sides with the NFLPA and Caron is suspended or decertified, he would not be allowed to negotiate NFL player contracts for the length of the penalty.
``All agents must be certified (by the NFLPA) in order to negotiate a contract,'' the NFLPA spokesman said. ``That's part of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, and all teams will have to recognize that.''
A veteran East Coast agent who was aware of the allegations said the actions against Caron are appropriate.
``You've got 600 NFL agents and half conduct themselves the right way and the other half doesn't,'' the agent said. ``We're just like any other business in that in order for things to run smoothly we all have to play by the rules.
``To me this sets precedent,'' the agent said. ``It sets a tone that if you screw up, you'll be penalized. The thing is, if I have to operate within a certain set of perimeters then he and every other agent should have to as well.''
The arbitrator is expected to make his ruling within 30 days of Friday's hearing.