Austin is back in the game, with 'no regrets' from UNC days
Posted August 14, 2011
Updated August 15, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. — Marvin Austin left the Bank of America Stadium field with an ear-to-ear grin. It was simply a preseason game between his New York Giants and
the Carolina Panthers, but Austin was finally back playing football.
The last time Austin participated in a game of any significance was on the same field 20 months ago in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl. Little
did he know at the time it would be his final college game at North Carolina.
"I missed it so much," Austin said after the game. "You don't really understand how much you miss it until you have a chance to go back and play."
But it was Austin's own off-the-field mistakes that temporarily cost him the chance.
After the 2009 bowl game, he made a surprise move by turning down the NFL to return to UNC for his senior year. Months later, in May 2010, Austin posted on his Twitter account about parties he and teammate Greg Little had attended in Washington D.C. and Miami. To find out how the trips were funded, the NCAA began its investigation into the football program in July.
In what was expected to be a breakthrough season for UNC football under coach Butch Davis, 14 Tar Heels missed at least one game in 2010 for either alleged academic fraud or accepting impermissible benefits.
John Blake, Austin's defensive line coach and mentor, resigned after the team's first game in September. Blake was later found to be improperly
leading players to sign with his friend, Gary Wichard, who was then an NFL agent.
Austin never played a game his senior year.
He was dismissed from the team in October after the school determined he accepted improper benefits valued between $10,000 and $13,000
"Everybody has a tendency at times to make selfish (decisions)," Austin said after Saturday's game. "I made mistakes, and some things that I've done I'd say were selfish. But at the same time, I never intended to hurt anyone."
The NCAA determined the UNC football program committed nine major violations, which ultimately led to Davis' firing on July 27. The NCAA Committee on Infractions will meet with UNC officials on Oct. 28, in Indianapolis to hand out its penalties for the program.
"The biggest things is, I hate to see some of the fans have to go through some of the things they've gone through with this whole thing because they're the people who I went out there every Saturday and bust(ed) my butt for," Austin said. "The hardest thing for me is to see how some of my actions have hurt a lot of people because they love this university. People put a lot of money into that university rebuilding the stadium."
Austin also made a stir last month when his friend and former teammate Michael McAdoo unsuccessfully sought an injunction against UNC and the NCAA in an effort to play his senior year.The night after McAdoo was not granted the injunction he was seeking, a frustrated Austin wrote about UNC on Twitter: "I just wish the administration stood and stop the cowardly acts when the are in front of the NCAA just tell them what you told us...don't turn and twist your story to look appealing to the NCAA and pressure the 21 year old athlete to say and do things that aren't in there best interest...I'm so heated right now...justice will prevail..even if I have to spill the beans."
McAdoo's lawsuit against UNC and the NCAA seeking damages is still ongoing.
Austin has since backed off from the Twitter comments. "I'm over it. I had a little venting about it. I was definitely sad when I heard the news. That's where some of the stuff came from," he said. "I love the University of North Carolina. I went there when nobody was interested in going to North Carolina and had great times there."
Austin said he has no regrets about his actions at UNC. After signing a four-year $3.67 million contract with the Giants, Austin is ready to talk more about his future and less about his past.