UNC releases names of those who provided benefits to players
Posted December 22, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. — In a letter obtained by WRAL News Wednesday, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the names of 10 individuals who provided benefits to UNC’s football players.
The letter follows a mandatory mediation held Dec. 13 as part of a public records lawsuit filed by eight media organizations regarding the NCAA and school investigation into impermissible benefits provided to UNC football players.
The ten individuals listed have been previously reported by WRAL News:
• Former UNC football player Omar Brown
• Former UNC football player Mahlon Carey
• Former Maryland football player Vernon Davis
• Sports agent Christopher Hawkins
• Rosenhaus Sports Director of Marketing and Client Services Michael Katz
• Former UNC football player Hakeem Nicks
• Florida based jeweler A.J. Machado
• Todd Stewart, who has been tied to Pro Sports Financial
• Former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley
• A person from Miami whose full name is not known
“This is a complete list of all of the individuals and organizations identified by the University at this time, in public records or otherwise, as having provided impermissible benefits to one of more UNC football players," UNC Vice Chancellor and General Counsel Leslie Strohm wrote in the Dec. 21 letter.
Strohm mentions the possibility that the organizations these individuals are affiliated with, as well as a few other individuals, may have also provided benefits but the university has not been able to determine that at this time.
The letter states these people and organizations to be 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.
WRAL News reported the benefits of these individuals as information about each person was discovered.
On Aug. 11, Yahoo! Sports reported that UNC linebacker Marvin Austin, who was dismissed from the team in October, visited Balmer in California during the summer of 2009. Kentwan Balmer is a client of Gary Wichard. The two players worked out at Proactive Sports Performance, a facility less than five miles from Wichard's offices.
Yahoo! reported Wichard saying that Balmer paid for Austin’s travel and expenses to California, which qualifies as a NCAA violation of impermissible benefits.
In an Oct. 4 letter from UNC athletic director Dick Baddour to the NCAA compliance department, Baddour identified Chris Hawkins as the person who acted as “a prospective agent” and as “a financial adviser” to student-athletes.
On the same day, Baddour wrote to Hawkins and asked him to disassociate himself from the athletics program for at least five years.
Baddour also identified relationships between UNC football players, Katz, and Todd Stewart, who has ties to a financial advising firm.
Katz provided a wristband to a pool party, while Stewart paid for hotel rooms used by players, Baddour wrote in the letter to the NCAA compliance department .
In a letter released to WRAL News on Oct. 29, Baddour confirmed that Machado provided at least one football player impermissible benefits. Baddour also asked Machado to have no further contact with any UNC student-athlete or any person associated with the UNC athletics program for at least five years.
On Nov. 12 the University released the name of tutor Jennifer Wiley, outlining how she helped student-athletes with both financial and academic assistance that was impermissible.
In a letter from Baddour, he said that Wiley provided “in excess of $2,000 in connection with travel and transportation issues” in 2010 and that she also "provided impermissible academic assistance" in 2009 and 2010.
The university also named three former UNC football players as among those who provided gifts to current football players. They are Mahlon Carey ($140), Hakeem Nicks ($3,300), Omar Brown ($1,865). Two other individuals, Vernon Davis ($20) and an unnamed person from Miami ($320) also provided players with benefits, according to the university.
On Dec. 3 the NFL Players Association suspended sports agent Wichard for nine months for his involvement with Austin.
Baddour said Austin accepted more than $10,000 in "improper benefits" and lied about it, when questioned.
Two other UNC players, wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn, were ruled "permanently ineligible" because of gifts they received from agents. All three were expected to be drafted this spring.
More than a dozen Tar Heels have missed at least one game this season as the NCAA investigates allegations about violations of amateurism rules and academic misconduct.