North Carolina

Investigation of sports agents yields indictments

Posted October 1, 2013
Updated October 2, 2013

According to search warrants, Greg Little told investigators for the North Carolina Secretary of State that he got monthly payments while a player at UNC. (photo by Will Okun)

An Orange County grand jury heard Monday from an agent for the North Carolina Secretary of State who has been investigating alleged violations of a state law that prohibits tampering with amateur college athletes. As a result, the grand jury handed down criminal indictments which remain under seal.

Special Agent A. H. Jones has been involved in the investigation of sports agents in North Carolina. She was named as the investigator in a search warrant unsealed last month. It showed former University of North Carolina football player Greg Little told investigators that Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency out of Georgia provided him with a monthly cash allowance of $2,200 in addition to travel expenses and other payments.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall, who would not confirm any indictments, has said in the past that he believes North Carolina would be the first state to pursue criminal charges linked to agent behavior.

The investigation stems from the NCAA’s finding that members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football team had accepted gifts, trips and cash from agents.

The North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agent Act requires that agents be registered with the Secretary of State, and lays out conduct that will run agents afoul of the law, including providing “anything of value” to a student-athlete not under contract or initiating contact with a student-athlete.

Sports agents 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 NCAA began investigating the UNC football program in July 2010, ultimately finding nine major violations including dealings between agents and student-athletes that included improper benefits.

Fourteen players missed some or all of the games played in the 2010 season. The NCAA declared two of them, Little and defensive end Robert Quinn, permanently ineligible, and UNC kicked a third, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, off the team.

The NCAA found that seven players received $27,097.38 in benefits “from individuals, some of whom trigger NCAA agent legislation.”

The NCAA violations ultimately cost head coach Butch Davis his job and led Dick Baddour to step away from his athletic director’s position.

The agent connections were just one aspect of the wrong-doing found in Chapel Hill. An internal UNC review also found problems with academic integrity.

The publication of a research paper by football player Michael McAdoo, who used it as evidence in trying to get back his eligibility, made evident that athletes were getting improper academic assistance from a tutor, and that some courses in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies were not being taught as advertised.

The UNC report showed Julius Nyang’oro, then the chairman of that department, oversaw independent study classes with minimal professor-student interaction and grades for 59 students in nine courses between 2007-09 were submitted with forged signatures of professors.

Woodall and the SBI are investigating whether Nyang’oro, who has since retired, and his administrator, Deborah Crowder, defrauded UNC-Chapel Hill by collecting pay for classes that instructors didn't teach.

74 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • unc70 Oct 9, 7:01 a.m.

    Has anyone ever been successfully prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced under this law? I don't... View More

    — Posted by scousler

    I strongly disagree with nearly every one of your statements and positions in these matters, with the primary exception where we agree being in regard to how long it has taken to see the first indictments in any state.

    The UAAA is well within established bounds under the Constitution. No idea what you mean by supposed "free trade rights". You also seem unaware that Congress in 2004 passed SPARTA, the Federal equivalent of the UAAA. It vests enforcement jurisdiction with the FTC, and it grants to state AGs the right to bring civil suits in Federal courts against agents in other states.

    There have been criminal charges brought in other states (e.g. Alabama) against athlete agents, though none that I know of comparable to those regarding Wiley nor as extensive as I expect regarding Terry Watson.

    http://sportslaw.uslegal.com/duties-of-sports-agents-to-athletes-and-statutory-regulation-thereof/

    BTW Your bright idea to use criminal investigations with subpoena powers to aid discovery in civil actions will get you in a lot of legal trouble.

    Also the current UAAA specifies that only the educational institution can sue the agent and the ex-student athlete for damages.

  • scousler Oct 9, 1:42 a.m.

    So what is the ultimate remedy for fixing this agent meddling? Instead of a state trying to secure criminal prosecutions, the fair thing to do would be for the aggrieved parties to be able to sue to collect damages.

    1) UNC should collect millions for the damage to its prestige.
    2) Butch Davis should be able to collect millions for losing his job/damage to his rep. (Especially if it can't be proved he had anything to do with agent/player contact)
    3) UNC alumni should be able to collect millions for damage to the prestige of their degree, making it more difficult to find a job
    4) Larry Fedora should be able to collect millions because the reduction in scholarships makes his job harder.

    Investigators work hard - dig up the dirt on these perps - give the civil courts all the evidence they need to sue and win big!

  • scousler Oct 9, 1:16 a.m.

    Has anyone ever been successfully prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced under this law? I don't think so. Just because a state passes a law, does not mean it will pass a constitutional review.

    I think the law is well intentioned - but probably violates free trade rights. Not surprising it's taken so long to actually see any indictments (which we have not seen yet), let alone actual charges. Prosecuting a violation of a local/state law, has to be weighed against a well funded challenge to it.

    Until the federal government (Congress and the Dept. of Justice) put up some regulations against the rampant actions of agents and other bad influences on college athletes, states can pass all the laws they want - agents will walk over them with virtual impunity.

  • unc70 Oct 3, 6:10 p.m.

    Lots of good comments - with some I agree, with some I disagree. Agents, runners, etc. - it... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    The Uniform Athlete Agent Act already provides that an educational institution has a right of action against an athlete agent or former student athlete for damages caused by violation of the Act. Consider the amount of damages UNC has suffered being on probation.

  • williammjohnston Oct 3, 5:11 p.m.

    Keep uncovering! It is not about the sports agents only. It smells all the way from the dressing room to the classrooms! And do not forget the pressure and available money from the alumni! Investigate every connection and a book can be written. However, the UNC law alumni will shut it down before any of them or the other alumni are exposed. College athletics everywhere is full of rotten deals and cash. It is not just UNC,but they had better covers and thought they could not be caught!

  • StunGunn Oct 3, 6:48 a.m.

    NCAA is worthless. Ten years ago UNC would have gotten the death penalty. What a joke! ... View More

    — Posted by redwolfone

    Watch the 30 for 30 on SMU and you'll understand that the NCAA is NEVER giving out the death... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    That 30 for 30 on SMU - "The Pony Excess" - was excellent. The term "Death... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    The NCAA is certainly losing its teeth over the years, but the death penalty would not have... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    Totally agree about technology. Just think if they had social media back in the 80's and 90's. Marvin's tweet started the football mess, and the ability to check cell phone records and other electronic records certainly makes it easier for the NCAA to research infractions.

  • heelsforever Oct 2, 8:38 p.m.

    NCAA is worthless. Ten years ago UNC would have gotten the death penalty. What a joke! ... View More

    — Posted by redwolfone

    Watch the 30 for 30 on SMU and you'll understand that the NCAA is NEVER giving out the death... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    That 30 for 30 on SMU - "The Pony Excess" - was excellent. The term "Death... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    The NCAA is certainly losing its teeth over the years, but the death penalty would not have happened 10 years ago or even 20 ears ago. When you see the NCAA guy who delivered the message on SMU almost collapse afterwards you know that they really didn't even want to do it to them, and they are not going to devistate another D1 program like that. Think about this though; had there been the technology available back then that exists today, you may have seen schools getting whacked a lot harder. Our Fack friends are going to throwup all over this, but odds are that much more would have been discovered back in 89/90 had there been the same ability to do research on the Internet.

  • StunGunn Oct 2, 7:26 p.m.

    NCAA is worthless. Ten years ago UNC would have gotten the death penalty. What a joke! ... View More

    — Posted by redwolfone

    Watch the 30 for 30 on SMU and you'll understand that the NCAA is NEVER giving out the death... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    That 30 for 30 on SMU - "The Pony Excess" - was excellent. The term "Death Penalty" is fitting, because it does kill an athletic program.

    I do have to agree that UNC would have been punished more harshly 10 years ago.

  • StunGunn Oct 2, 7:22 p.m.

    Under the rug??? Don't you mean under a very large meatball?:)

    Joking aside, I agree that it is... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    You sir are correct!

    — Posted by Whocareswhatyouthink

    jgunn is a ma'am, not a sir. :)

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again03

    I stand corrected! Sorry Jgunn.

    — Posted by Whocareswhatyouthink

    We're good:) I don't know why, but I take it as a compliment when someone thinks I'm a guy on this blog.

  • heelsforever Oct 2, 7:15 p.m.

    NCAA is worthless. Ten years ago UNC would have gotten the death penalty. What a joke! ... View More

    — Posted by redwolfone

    Watch the 30 for 30 on SMU and you'll understand that the NCAA is NEVER giving out the death penalty to a D1 school again. They knew that back then and certainly knew that 10 years ago.

More...

 

 

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
Final
LAL 123
CHI 118
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
LAC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
CHI
 
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
Final
USC 94
COL 98
Final
UCI 67
CPSL 57
 
Final
CSNO 73
HAW 84
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
Final
SDU 69
SCU 64
 
Final
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
Final
UCLA 69
UTAH 59
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
Final
CSFU 85
LBSU 91
 
Final
GAELS 68
LMU 54
 
Final
WASU 67
CAL 76
Final
BYU 78
USF 74
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
DART
 
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
MAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
SIENA
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
IUPUI
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAIR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
OREG
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
YALE
 
10:00pm Tonight
BUF
KSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
ORST
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
EDM 3
BUF 2
Final
SJS 6
ANA 3
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI