Sports agent Terry Watson faces 14 felony counts in UNC scandal
Posted October 9, 2013
Updated October 10, 2013
Hillsborough, N.C. — Court documents unsealed Wednesday identified sports agent Terry Watson as the second of multiple people indicted on felony charges related to the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Act.
The Georgia-based Watson faces a total of 14 felony counts related to the football scandal at the University of North Carolina. Thirteen of the charges are for athlete-agent inducement related to gifts provided to former UNC football players Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Greg Little. He also faces one felony count of obstruction of justice.
Watson is alleged to have provided Little with $18,200 in cash between May 2010 and October 2010. That included monthly payments of $2,200 during that span. Watson is also charged with providing Little with $683.24 for a hotel room and $1,574 in travel expenses. Quinn is alleged to have received $100 cash, $675.74 for a hotel and $750 in travel expenses from Watson. Watson is also charged with providing Austin with $2,000 in cash.
"We're going to scrutinize these indictments. We're going to scrutinize the statute," said Watson's attorney Russell Babb, who played football at UNC and was a co-captain in 1995.
Watson made his first appearance in an Orange County courtroom Wednesday. He faces a maximum of 15 months in jail for each of the 13 athlete-agent related charges and a maximum of 30 months in jail for the obstruction charge. However, District Attorney Jim Woodall said that individuals with little or no previous criminal record would likely be subjected to probation and/or fines.
"The reason for the Act is to try to deter agents and people working for agents, inducing athletes who have eligibility left, from signing contracts because then they lose their eligibility," Woodall said. "We don't focus on the players or a specific institution, we're focused on the agents or the people who worked on behalf of agents."
Watson is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15.
Watson is one of multiple people to be indicted in an ongoing investigation looking into agent interactions with student-athletes headed by Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's office.
Last week, former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson became the first person to be charged for violating the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Act. She faces four felony counts that she provided cash packages and airfare to then Tar Heels football player Little in attempts to get the wide receiver to sign with Watson.
Woodall said last week he is unaware of any other people being previously charged, in North Carolina or nationwide, under the athlete-agent act.
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 state law requires that sports agents 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. They may also have to pay damages to a school that loses eligible student-athletes.
On Sept. 30, an Orange County grand jury issued multiple indictments, three of which remain under seal.
In December 2010, UNC released a list of names, of people known to have provided benefits to football players. In addition to Thompson, the list includes:
- 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.