Second indictment in UNC agents probe due Wednesday
Posted October 8, 2013
Updated October 9, 2013
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Jim Woodall, district attorney for Orange County, said Tuesday that he expects a second grand jury indictment to be unsealed Wednesday in the ongoing investigation into whether sports agents broke state law by providing gifts to former University of North Carolina football players.
On Friday, Jennifer Wiley Thompson, who worked with the Tar Heel football team from 2007 to 2009, made her first appearance on four felony charges that she provided benefits – including airline tickets and cash to receiver Greg Little, now with the Cleveland Browns.
Woodall said Thursday that, to the best of his knowledge, North Carolina was the first state to file criminal charges related to athlete-agent contact.
"This is a new law that that has questionable applicability to these facts, and no one should judge the truth based on this or any grand jury indictment," Wiley's attorney Joe Chesire said in a statement after her court appearance. "She has been pursued and harassed for years and paid a great price for being a good-hearted, naive young person who tried to help people."
Wiley's indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, shows investigators found she purchased a round-trip airline ticket for then-UNC football player Little in May 2010. Later that year, Wiley delivered packages to Little containing $2,000 and $150 cash. Investigators allege Wiley gave gifts to Little in attempts to persuade him to contract with sports agent Terry Watson of the Georgia-based Watson Sports Agency.
The university was sanctioned by the NCAA in March 2012 after an almost two-year long investigation that showed that seven players had received $27,097.38 in gifts, cash and trips.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall followed up the NCAA investigation with one of her own in the summer of 2010, under the auspices of a law that requires sports agents to register with the Secretary of State, and prohibits them from providing “anything of value” to a student-athlete not under contract or initiating contact with a student-athlete.
Those who violate the law can be charged with a felony and may also be subject to civil penalties, including a fine of up to $25,000 and paying damages to a school that loses eligible student-athletes.
The Orange County grand jury indicted multiple people last week, but those proceedings remain under seal.