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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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  • kmorrevenge Oct 14, 10:18 a.m.

    cheaters never win

  • Massdaddy Oct 14, 10:23 a.m.

    Unfortunately, UNC and these scandals can't seem to separate. They need to figure out how the top 10 schools are cheating and getting away with it or just stop cheating all together.

  • tgiv Oct 14, 11:14 a.m.

    I'm not a UNC fan or a hater. I simply believe that this law is absurd. The state has actual real crime with real victims that need to be enforced. Using law enforcement resources enforcing the hypocrisy of the NCAA or supporting their attempt to prevent SOME students from participating in the free enterprise system is bizarre at best.

    I can't imagine the number of palms that were greased to pass this piece of crud, but it stinks. Music agents, corporate recruiters, and anyone else are permitted to give students money, trips, jewelry, or any other consideration that they see fit with a consenting adult. This is the nanny state on steroids being bought by the multi-billion dollar college sports business.

  • houndog Oct 14, 11:21 a.m.

    How noble of the school leaders who were also a part of this mess to allow Ms. Wiley-Thompson to take the brunt of public impact. Why she, Ms. Crowder and the AfAM Professor remain so silent, and apparently in hiding, is absolutely baffling. What are they protecting?

    Does no one else find that fascinating?

  • KT lols at mustangs Oct 14, 11:40 a.m.

    How noble of the school leaders who were also a part of this mess to allow Ms. Wiley-Thompson to... View More

    — Posted by houndog

    Oh don't worry. If Wiley's trial goes to court, she'll sing like a bird if she takes the stand.

  • Rip Rock Oct 14, 11:55 a.m.

    Sounds like the number of people not giving money to uncch football players is much less than the ones who were.

  • FAN72 Oct 14, 12:03 p.m.

    Mr. Jones states that he does not know and would not recognize Mr. Quinn if he walked through the door. Interesting, however, someone had to give up Mr. Jones' name in order for the SBI to investigate him and to request an indictment. Wonder who sang?

  • unc70 Oct 14, 12:04 p.m.

    Jones sent hundreds of packages of money to athletes at the request of Watson. He probably doesn't know them personally. Before all of you start commenting about things you don't know (as usual), youight want to go to the Secretary of State web site and read the actual court documents unsealed and posted there.

  • unc70 Oct 14, 12:09 p.m.

    I'm not a UNC fan or a hater. I simply believe that this law is absurd. The state has actual... View More

    — Posted by tgiv

    You might want to read about the Uniform Athlete Agent Act to learn how it came into being. You don't seem to understand contract law nor things like the UCC.

  • Alex25 Oct 14, 12:12 p.m.

    www.unccheats.com, it never seems to end at UNC-CH. And, it has been happening for

    ............ d-e-c-a-d-e-s.

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