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North Carolina

Georgia realtor charged for gifts to UNC football player

Posted October 14, 2013

— The employee of a Georgia real estate agency is the third person to be indicted in a North Carolina investigation of sports agents.  

Patrick Mitchell Jones, of 121 Luckie St. in Cartersville, Ga., is charged with one count of athlete-agent inducement. According to court documents unsealed Monday, Jones provided $725 to someone named Constance Orr as a gift to defensive end Robert Quinn.

When asked, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall could not say who Orr was or how she was connected to Quinn or Jones.

Jones denied any connection to Quinn Monday, saying he was "totally caught off guard" by the charge. "I wouldn't know him if he walked through the door," Jones said of Quinn, who is in his third season with the St. Louis Rams.

A grand jury in Orange County handed up indictments against multiple people last week. Former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson and Watson, an agent based in Georgia, have already had their first court appearances, and more are to come.

Woodall said he believes North Carolina is the first state to file criminal charges against those who would illegally influence student athletes.

UNC leaders have had little to say about the agent investigation.

"Our hope is that the actions taken by the district attorney will encourage and promote proper behavior by agents, advisors, student-athletes and anyone who comes in contact with students in matters related to representation," said Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.

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.

Thompson faces four felony counts that she provided cash packages and airfare to then-Tar Heels football player Greg Little in attempts to get the wide receiver to sign with Watson.

Watson faces a total of 14 felony counts, 13 of them for alleged gifts provided to former UNC football players Marvin Austin, Quinn and Little. He also faces one felony count of obstruction of justice. 

Watson 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.

"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." 

The University of North Carolina 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.

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.

71 Comments

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  • eyepeefreelee Oct 15, 9:12 a.m.

    Instead of counting the number of players who got money, maybe they should look at the number... View More

    — Posted by gsms69

    Great idea! We should carry that mindset over to other things as well! How about cancer? Don't worry about the small percentage of people with it, just think about all the folks without it! Or crime? Most people don't murder, so just ignore the few who do. The easy way is always the best way.

    Well looky there, I've gone full circle and am now back at UNC Athletics...

  • eyepeefreelee Oct 15, 9:09 a.m.

    Preview = Submit?

  • YouGotThatRight Oct 14, 10:30 p.m.

    Since it will take about 1 1/2 years for trials to begin, I suspect Marshall and Woodall expect the three year NCAA probationary period will have ended before anyone gets found guilty of wrongdoing. The NCAA can't use this evidence until convictions come about. Marshall sat on a lot of this information under seal and didn't share any of it with the NCAA. This is and never was about the poor ole college athletes. This is about rewriting history and blaming outsiders for all of UNC's problems. Politics to protect the image of the non living entity of UNC. NC law has it figured out to sue those who cause financial damage through bowl bans and so forth. UNC will never lose a dime under NCAA probation because they'll pass the costs along to the accused inviduals. Last I checked, Penn State was paying their $60 million penalty and not asking the Paterno or Sandusky family's for a dime. The non living entity at UNC is loyal to nothing but itself.

  • TThMFs Oct 14, 9:57 p.m.

    I do have to wonder if DA Woodall, who is elected by Orange County residents, is chasing the... View More

    — Posted by nativenorthcarolina

    I totally agree with all of that. Woodall got his undergrad and law degrees in Chapel Hill. ... View More

    — Posted by YouGotThatRight

    It's pathetic what ewenc is doing. The people that are taking the rap/ fall vs the ones that got away clean when guilty.
    Here's the kicker...the "fall guys" & the ones that got away...ALL were & will get PAID. Thus, the kerliner way.

  • unc70 Oct 14, 9:46 p.m.

    North Carolina is the worst state in the country for playing politics with the law. Why did... View More

    — Posted by YouGotThatRight

    Marshall, et al probably went after the agents because the Secretary of State has the authority and delegated powers to investigate and enforce the laws regarding athlete agents. Not everything involves a conspiracy or a coverup.

  • YouGotThatRight Oct 14, 8:01 p.m.

    I do have to wonder if DA Woodall, who is elected by Orange County residents, is chasing the... View More

    — Posted by nativenorthcarolina

    I totally agree with all of that. Woodall got his undergrad and law degrees in Chapel Hill. This is free public relations using taxpayer money. Did UNC want this to go away, really? Then why do they keep dragging it out? The prosecutors are playing politics while allowing many of the guilty to walk without penalties. It all depends on what's best for UNC Chapel Hill. This was never about the students as they'll tell you it was.

  • Dick Dickson Oct 14, 7:21 p.m.

    FYI...Constance Orr is/was Robert Quinn's girlfriend, mother of his son, & a former UNC softball player.

  • YouGotThatRight Oct 14, 7:19 p.m.

    North Carolina is the worst state in the country for playing politics with the law. Why did Elaine Marshall and Jim Woodall make this simply an agents are boogeymen thing? Why are no charges being handed down to the criminal drug dealer giving the star basketball player so many free rentals? That's because PJ Hairston isn't viewed as a victim by anybody. UNC and the state of NC are positioning UNC and it's football team as victims of outsider predators. Why are they arresting one person at a time and causing all of these news articles to be written when you could have gotten it over all in one day? All that time UNC claimed they were victims of the press dragging stories out and look at what's going on now. Panzies!

  • gsms69 Oct 14, 7:10 p.m.

    Instead of counting the number of players who got money, maybe they should look at the number who DID NOT get money.

  • trekkie13 Oct 14, 6:40 p.m.

    None of the so called "Free Speech" arguments regarding the UAAA have any bearing on... View More

    — Posted by unc70

    The "initial" contact part of the statute is still reasonably unconstitutional. This reminds me of a law where at least part of it should in theory be voided by a federal court. Basically the state is violating initial contact(initial free association between two people of the age of majority) and suppressing free association in order to protect public universities from possible punitive bylaws of a private entity such as the NCAA. I thought the Constitution protected against this type of government action. NCAA bylaws are more important than the First Amendment is what part of this Statute is basically saying. Maybe I am being too picky here but the First Amendment should never be limited.

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