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Indictment: Tutor served as liaison between agent, UNC football player

Posted October 3, 2013
Updated October 4, 2013

— A former University of North Carolina tutor became the first person to appear in court Thursday on charges she violated state laws that regulate how agents may interact with student athletes.

Jennifer Lauren Wiley Thompson is one of five people indicted earlier this week on charges related to the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act. She is one of 10 people found by the NCAA to have provided impermissible benefits – both academic and financial – to members of the UNC football team.

"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 Thursday. "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. We shall see the truth, but people should keep an open mind about her case."

Wiley's indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, shows investigators found she purchased a round-trip airline ticket for then-UNC football player Greg 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.

Former UNC tutor appears in court Former UNC tutor appears in court  

District Attorney Jim Woodall said Thursday that nobody, in North Carolina or nationwide, has ever been charged under the athlete-agent act, that he knows of. Wiley, who faces four felony charges that each carry a maximum of 15 months in jail, has an authorized released upon payment of a $15,000 secured bond. She is due in court again Oct. 15.

"I am very concerned about the legal and/or factual basis for this indictment against Jennifer," Chesire said. "We will be reviewing the discovery carefully for statements that give any credence to the allegations. As well we have serious doubts as to the applicability of this law to this situation."

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, 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.

In the course of the criminal investigation, agents with the Secretary of State’s office searched Wiley’s phone records – finding “extensive contact between Wiley and UNC-CH student athletes” and “direct contact between Wiley’s number and (sports agent) Peter Schaffer.”

In a search warrant application for her bank records, Secretary of State Special Agent A.H. Jones wrote, “Since Wiley is not a student athlete there does not appear to be a reasonable explanation for her to be in direct contact with agents and financial advisors.”

UNC told the NCAA that Wiley provided too much help with players’ school work and paid about $3,500 worth of parking and plane tickets for the players she worked with.

As a result, the university banned Wiley, a UNC graduate, from further helping student athletes, having contact with them or entering any campus athletic facilities.

Wiley’s lawyer, Joseph B. Cheshire V, has said she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong, saying, "She has suffered a lot for having a big heart.”

Nyang’oro investigation still pending

Wiley is also connected to a second, on-going investigation at UNC by the Secretary of State.

She helped player Michael McAdoo with portions of a paper he turned in for what was revealed to be a no-show class in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, a paper later found to be largely lifted from other sources. McAdoo’s work, which he used as evidence when he sued to be reinstated to the football team, shone a light on that department and especially then-Chairman Julius Nyang’oro and his administrator, Deborah Crowder.

A university review of courses in the department found independent study classes with minimal professor-student interaction and 59 instances between 2007-09 where grades were submitted with forged signatures of professors.

Woodall and the SBI have yet to determine whether Nyang’oro and Crowder, both of whom have left the university, defrauded UNC by collecting pay for classes that instructors didn't teach.

Others indictments will yield more detail

An Orange County grand jury on Monday issued multiple indictments, but they remain under seal. Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has said he believes North Carolina is the first state to bring criminal charges related to athlete-agent contact.

In December 2010, UNC released a list of names, including Wiley’s, of people known to have provided benefits to football players.

They are:
• Former UNC football players Omar Brown, Mahlon Carey and Hakeem Nicks
• Former Maryland football player Vernon Davis
• Sports agent Christopher Hawkins
• Michael Katz, director of marketing and client services for Rosenhaus Sports
• Florida-based jeweler A.J. Machado
• Todd Stewart, who has been tied to Pro Sports Financial

UNC Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Leslie Strohm also noted other organizations and people who may have provided benefits. They are: Rosenhaus Sports, Pro Sports Financial, Vernon Davis’ brother Vontae Davis, Chris Hawkins' business partner Martin Blazer, former UNC player Kentwan Balmer and agent Gary Wichard, since deceased.

249 Comments

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  • unc70 Oct 4, 5:14 p.m.

    When are the players going to be indicted for taking the money!?

    — Posted by solarcableguy

    It is not criminal for the athletes to simply receive the benefits. They and the agents are liable for damages caused to The University. The players could sued in a civil action.

    A player could be indicted for things like giving a teammate something from an agent.

  • mojaintsmall Oct 4, 4:59 p.m.

    Flag ship is more like a flag sponge it is taking on so much water and sinking by the day. mojaintsmall

  • 678devilish Oct 4, 4:53 p.m.

    She was wrong and should absolutely face her dire consequences.

  • unc70 Oct 4, 4:25 p.m.

    TBK has been spot on the whole time.
    Where does this go from here?
    There are more indictments,... View More

    — Posted by DA unwashed Mob

    Wiley is not suffering now because she listened to Cheshire. She is in trouble because she took actions on her own knowing that she would be helping break NCAA rules. She had not realized until later that those actions also were against the law. That was when she hired Cheshire. She needed a good lawyer and got one.

  • FE_ORA Oct 4, 3:28 p.m.

    All I know is, that if we get Butch-slapped by VT & Miami & drop to 1-5, I'm gonna start cheating my *** off too. Payments to players, fake classes, tutors doing homework for players and ....... doing players ....... will be back on the table. I want the old Carolina Way back. This thing that Dean Smith wrote about is a fairy tale.

    And don't get me started about Teflon Roy.

  • heelsforever Oct 4, 3:21 p.m.

    UNC has a rich history in cheating going back to at least the Choo Choo Justice days. But what... View More

    — Posted by rayraynral

    Then why has UNC only been hit twice while another local school has been hit, what, four, five times? Does the other school just really suck at keeping it quiet?

  • solarcableguy Oct 4, 3:21 p.m.

    When are the players going to be indicted for taking the money!?

  • heelsforever Oct 4, 3:17 p.m.

    If the real truth ever comes out - quote Si. IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!!! it goes deeper than... View More

    — Posted by JACKSON THIS IS OUR STATE SAWYER

    Afraid someone will whack you for spilling the beans on an anonymous message board???

  • The Hans Oct 4, 2:26 p.m.

    Thats called being a fan and hating your rival. They have them at other schools also.... View More

    — Posted by packfan07

    OK, maybe I was wrong. It looks like you fooled this dude.

    PF07, don't respond to these types of... View More

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again03

    He or she might be a Pack fan, he or she might not - but I feel the exact same way regarding the... View More

    — Posted by The Hans

    Speaking of obsession, have you noticed all the threads started in the NCSU forum regarding our... View More

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again03

    Oh, please. It doesn't even come close to comparing, and most of those posts are likely payback for the way you and the rest of the fringe have been flooding their forum with every kind of nonsense imaginable. You, by your own admission, even emailed their AD, for Pete's sake! You want to call me a joke and talk about obsession? SMH.

  • packisback69 Oct 4, 12:39 p.m.

    Wow, State fans hating other State fans......I'm guessing ever one on here is young

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