Whether guilty or innocent, the presumptive Heisman front-runner now carries an inescapable stigma. The kid with the big smile and postgame exuberance, the highlight-reel runs and pass-efficiency prowess, is now linked to the ugly words “extra benefits” and the eye-popping numbers “$200,000” (the figure Rogers claimed “other schools” had offered). It also shines new light on the increasingly pervasive and disgraceful practices of individuals like Rogers, whose company Elite Football Preparation holds camps for college prospects and claims to “match high school athletes with college programs.”
He and others like him are the football equivalent to the shady AAU coaches that have long brokered behind-the-scenes deals for elite basketball prospects. The NCAA is only now starting to get a handle on them.