College Football

Defense in agent scandal sees evidence in state's case

Posted December 17, 2013

— Prosecutors have provided about 40,000 pages in investigative records to attorneys for five people charged with violating the state's sports agent law by providing benefits to former Tar Heel football players in 2010.

During a brief court hearing Tuesday, Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall said prosecutors will provide more records by Feb. 1 to attorneys for the defendants — which include a Georgia-based sports agent and a former UNC tutor.

The next hearing is set for April 29 due to the volume of files, which prosecutors provided on a computer hard disk and 23 CDs in a small white box. Bill Young, who represents one of the defendants, called the amount of discovery files "at the moment, overwhelming."

After the hearing, the attorney for charged ex-tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson said she has lost at least three teaching jobs due to the investigation and said she's never been an agent or runner.

"Nobody in this entire situation has suffered more than Jennifer Wiley Thompson," Raleigh-based attorney Joseph B. Cheshire V said. "I mean she has been the face of this entire investigation, and she's simply a young woman who was a tutor who tried to help people, and then made friends with those people and continued to try to help them.

"She's never been an agent for anybody. She's never been paid to be an agent for anybody. She's never been paid to try to funnel players to particular agents. But she just continues to be the face of the story. And I find it really, really tragic for her."

Thompson is charged with four counts of providing benefits to former UNC football player Greg Little to help agent Terry Watson to sign Little. A grand jury returned indictments on Sept. 30 against Thompson, Watson, longtime Watson associate Patrick Jones, Watson employee Willie Barley and longtime Little friend Michael Johnson.

Cheshire and the other attorneys have also questioned the validity of the law, which governs how agents can interact with athletes in the state. He told the judge Tuesday that the law essentially helps a private entity – the NCAA – to control amateur athletes.

Watson was charged with 13 counts of providing cash or travel accommodations to Little, Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn valued at nearly $24,000 in an effort to sign them. Watson also faces one count of obstruction for not providing records sought by authorities.

"We'll roll up our sleeves and get to work," said Watson's attorney Russell Babb. "There's going to be additional discovery in this case."

Jones was charged with providing $725 to Quinn through a third party on Watson's behalf. Barley faces four charges for providing Quinn $1,525.74 in benefits for a trip to Miami in May 2010.

Johnson — then a college quarterback at nearby North Carolina Central University and a current employee of Rosenhaus Sports Representation — faces three charges for providing a location for Watson to meet with Little and provide him with $5,000 in May 2010, as well as providing Watson a location to send packages containing $100 for Little in May and June of that year.

"He was Greg [Little]'s best friend, and lifelong friend since age five, 40-thousand pieces of paper will now tell us why he's been indicted as a felon by the state of N.C.," said Johnson's attorney Bill Young. "He's still shocked and surprised he's involved in this."

None of the five defendants appeared in court Tuesday.

The charges came after more than three years of investigation by the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, which launched its probe shortly after the NCAA began investigating improper benefits and academic misconduct within the Tar Heels football program in summer 2010.

Violating the state's Uniform Athlete Agent Act is a low-level felony and Woodall has said anyone convicted would get probation if they didn't have a criminal record.

Woodall said it remains unclear exactly when the cases could go to trial, though he said the timeline could become clearer by the April hearing. Cheshire said he thought it could take a year "before anybody could possibly be ready to try this case."

"It's the lowest level felony, but a felony's a felony," Cheshire said. "In the world of America today, no one forgives anything. If you're a convicted felon, you might as well be thrown on the trash heap of the world. So in that sense it's enormously important."

20 Comments

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  • mxteam44 Dec 17, 4:49 p.m.

    What a mess. I still don't think she "knowingly" did anything wrong. But, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

  • 903 Hook em banned Dec 17, 5:03 p.m.

    How could she not know she did anything wrong? Writing papers for football players, giving money and plane tickets to football players? C'mon...

  • dlnorri Dec 17, 5:26 p.m.

    Lets see, players with little or no money got the tutor to write their papers; the same players managed to get a professor (or a department) to create no-show classes on a grand scale. The same players with no little or no money got the university to allow freshmen that needed remedial reading to take advanced courses. Who benefited from all of this, of course those poor players who could sneak through and stay eligible without any of the coaches/officials knowing about it. And all of these folks facing charges did these wrongs unknowingly out of the goodness of their hearts to help the players stay and advance in school. The real question is when will these charged start squealing, or is the power of the payoff so great all of these will take the fall, cop a plea, and protect the real guilty parties.

  • wral27 Dec 17, 5:29 p.m.

    Wiley helped students CHEAT! Regardless of the agent accusations and these charges, that alone should keep her out of classrooms.

  • ABCers Partying Dec 17, 5:32 p.m.

    Wiley helped students CHEAT! Regardless of the agent accusations and these charges, that alone... View More

    — Posted by wral27

    Yea, she should have to suffer the rest of her life for that crime.

  • Deancheatsandwins1 Dec 17, 5:58 p.m.

    Wiley helped students CHEAT! Regardless of the agent accusations and these charges, that alone... View More

    — Posted by wral27

    Yea, she should have to suffer the rest of her life for that crime.

    — Posted by ABCers Partying

    I AGREE 100%

  • Alex25 Dec 17, 6:06 p.m.

    www.unccheats.com, some things never change:: UNC CHEATING

    Been happening in C Hill for 40+ years … starting with Dean Smith, the Image and Puppet Master.

  • Alex25 Dec 17, 6:09 p.m.

    Also, www.carolinasucks.com, documents the myriad issues at PerfectBlueU in C Hill.

  • BadDayforButch Dec 17, 6:15 p.m.

    The prosecutors need to find out who is paying Joe Cheshire for her defense. He is one of the highest priced lawyers in the area. Doubtful she could afford to pay for him as a teacher who is having trouble keeping a job.

  • Mr. Hans Dec 17, 6:23 p.m.

    www.unccheats.com, some things never change:: UNC CHEATING

    Been happening in C Hill for 40+... View More

    — Posted by Alex25

    **wrings hands**

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
CIN 4
PIT 0
Final
BAL 3
TAM 0
Final
NYY 3
CHC 0
Final
MIL 5
STL 1
Final
ARI 2
NYM 5
Final
PHI 0
ATL 1
Final
NYY 2
CHC 0
Final
DET 2
CLE 3
Final
MIA 3
WAS 6
Final
TEX 3
SEA 2
Final
CWS 4
BOS 6
Final
HOU 4
KAN 6
8:10pm Wednesday
MIN 0
TOR 0
Final
ANA 5
OAK 4
Final
SDP 4
COL 2
Final
SFG 2
LOS 1
1:05pm Today
PHI
ATL
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CLE
 
1:10pm Today
MIN
TOR
 
2:05pm Today
TEX
SEA
 
3:45pm Today
SFG
LOS
 
6:40pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
Final
CHA 91
CHI 86
Final
ORL 86
IND 101
Final
MIL 103
ATL 111
Final
CLE 114
BRK 85
Final
MEM 106
DAL 105
Final
OKC 112
DET 111
Final
NOP 105
HOU 100
Final
SAN 100
LAL 113
Final
MIA 87
PHI 100
Final
NYK 95
TOR 92
Final
MIN 130
UTA 136
Final
BOS 102
WAS 118
Final
DEN 112
GSW 116
Final
POR 110
LAC 104
Final
SAC 99
PHO 104
Final
TAM 4
MON 5
Final
PIT 4
CLB 3
Final
ANA 4
DAL 3
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
DUR 6
NOR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR