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There’s another sports agent and college football scandal, and this one involves the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Secretary of State commenced an investigation into sports agents, which revealed that a Georgia man sent cash to Marvin Austin, a former North Carolina football player. The investigation also revealed that several other college student-athletes nationwide were involved, and the Georgia man even paid a college tutor. The man named in the scheme was Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency, registered in Marietta, Georgia.
North Carolina investigators have discovered FedEx records that show that packages were sent to Austin from Georgia by a Watson associate. Austin claims that he once received $2,000 in cash from the agency. Records also showed that packages were sent to Jennifer Wiley, a UNC football tutor. Furthermore, it was discovered that Wiley paid for former UNC football player Greg Little’s parking tickets and airline flights. A raid on Watson’s office also revealed documents and text messages showing reports of money wired into several student-athletes’ bank accounts. Patrick Jones, a Watson associate, told investigators that he regularly sent packages of cash to players whom Watson was attempting to recruit because it was the only way to compete with bigger agencies.
North Carolina, one of 42 states with laws regulating sports agencies launched its investigation shortly after the NCAA began an investigation at the University of North Carolina. Under North Carolina’s Uniform Athletes Agent Act, agents must register with the Secretary of State’s office, which Watson also initially failed to do, though he nevertheless began communicating with North Carolina student-athletes. The Act is designed to protect student-athletes from agents like Watson who offer gifts in exchange for representation. Violation of the Act is a Class I felony with a maximum prison sentence of 15 months, and carries potential civil penalties up to $25,000. The decision on whether or not to prosecute Watson has not been made.
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