Jul
16

The UNC Football Scandal

Yesterday ESPN.com’s Joe Schad broke a story that the NCAA is investigating the University of North Carolina football program regarding possible rules violations surrounding gifts/benefits received by players from sports agents.

As I discuss in my paper, Duties of Sports Agents to Athletes and Statutory Regulations Thereof, SPARTA (the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act) binds sports agents to a certain code of conduct regarding the recruiting and signing of student-athletes.  Section 7802(a)(1)(B) prohibits a sports agent from giving anything of value to a student-athlete or anyone associated with him, until the student-athlete has signed an agency contract.  Signing an agency contract voids any remaining NCAA eligibility that athlete had, anyway. Sometimes, discovery of these gifts do not occur until after the athlete has used up all of his eligibility.  Sports agents may still face penalties under SPARTA once the athlete is no longer a student.

Then there is the Uniform Athlete Agents Act (UAAA).  The UAAA also prohibits the “buying” of a student-athlete.  If a sports agent gives any item of value to a student-athlete for the purpose of having that athlete sign an agency contract, the result may be criminal or civil penalties against the agent.  North Carolina is one of the 38 states that have adopted a form of the UAAA.

So when Joe Schad tells the world that there is a serious NCAA investigation taking place at UNC, sports agents who may be affected should begin to contact their attorneys.  Schad notes that Defensive tackle Marvin Austin was a football player who was interviewed.  I have a source who tells me that Austin was only 1 of 13 players who have been interviewed – this is far reaching.  And it does not only extend to a number of players.  The same source tells me that there are a lot of agents that may have dirty hands, including both NFLPA Certified Advisors and marketing agents.  Some are being examined more than others.

It is apparently beyond just in-person meetings, rent payments, and travel expenses.  We are potentially talking about all expenses paid trips to South Beach, exorbitant amounts of money dropped on accessories, and there are rumors of players driving around in Bentleys.

UNC’s football program has miraculously gone from the laughingstock of the ACC to a respectable team in a small number of years.  A lot of the credit for the team’s rise lies with John Blake, UNC’s associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach.  He is one of the best in the country in recruiting talented high school football players and getting them prepared for a prosperous future in the NFL.  He also has had some former players sign with Pro Tect Management’s Gary Wichard, including Brian Bosworth and Kentwan Balmer.  Sporting News reports that Marvin Austin was reportedly seen driving Balmer’s car and stayed at Balmer’s Chapel Hill apartment at times while Balmer was back in the area training during the offseason.  And Bosworth is suing Wichard over $2 million based on referring Bosworth to a financial advisor (Judd Rothman of Rothman & Rothman in Patchogue, NY) who Wichard supposedly knew had engaged in fraudulent activity in the past.

I also am told that Greg Williams of VSM has a nice relationship with UNC saftey Duenta Williams.

  • zyzxzyz

    they interviewed anyone with draft prospects for thoroughness. that’s why it quantitatively was “far reaching”. the focus seems to have only been on two players.

  • http://sportsagentblog.com Darren Heitner

    Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. UNC will not be the last program under investigation for this.

  • http://sportsagentblog.com Doug Vinci

    As with previous NCAA investigations, the repercussions may not come for a while, or at least not the full effect of those. Just look at the USC investigation with Reggie Bush, the team is being punished this season for what happened a few years ago. I expect this case to be long and drawn out as well.

    • Jeff

      The USC ordeal took so long because USC administration (not literally obviously) told the NCAA to go Fu** itself. USC said we’re USC and you (meaning the NCAA) are investigating us, you find dirt on us we dont have to turn over or give you anything until abosolutely demanded and then when you ask for something we’ll sometime get around to helping with that info and what we do provide is going to be very bland and almost worthless. . USC moved at a snails pace and contributed as little as possible to the investigation enough to just get by. SMU got the death penalty all those years ago because administration,coaches, players etc blatantly lied to NCAA investigators and covered up vast amounts of info and money trails FOR YEARS. While UNC wont get the death penalty, and from reading everything it sounds isolated to players and agents. So as far as UNC is concerned its prob gonna have a few players suspended for a while. In the grand scheme of things who cares because this is UNC’s first screw up so they wont have the book thrown at them.

  • zyzxzyz

    further it’s only a “UNC Football Scandal” if it’s institutional. otherwise it’s just 1 or 2 kids who may or may not have ruined their eligibility next year for shiny things. however, if this was done systematically across multiple campuses, it may well be a scandal for a particular agency(ies).

  • Runyon

    Lol.

    This hits one player, at most. Nothing more, nothing less. The biggest joke is the bit about Marvin Austin staying in Kentwan Balmer’s apartment….seriously? Former teammates chillin’ together during the offseason? Real nice attempt at journalism.

    • Pete Baglioni

      Runyon,

      As I recall, the USC football scandal was about a single player. I don’t think any of them are looking at the punishments as minor.

      -PB

  • Rob

    People everywhere have been trying to figure out why national recruits were interested in a second tier team from a second tier conference. I think it’s beginning to make a little more sense. Blake learned a lot in the old Southwest Conference/Big 12, didn’t he?

    • Mike

      Rob,

      You have to be kidding me. These allegations aren’t even about recruiting. Also, UNC has also been able to recruit well. Even John Bunting was able to field top 25 classes.

      If you’re going to pounce, at least pounce on the right issues.

      • Fight On

        Mike, as a USC fan I can tell you to get used to it. None of our problems were recruiting related, yet all the haters loved to call us cheaters (as if Bush getting illegal benefits somehow helped the team win). Even the Committee on Infractions claimed that the 30 scholarships were taken because they assumed that Bush’s success at USC led to an extra 30 recruits.

    • Jimmy Johnson

      Message to Rob……..you are an idiot !!

  • pc

    Balmer and Austin were teammates, so that should qualify as a pre-existing relationship and not subject to penalty.

    Moreover, Joe Schad did not break the story, Inside Carolina broke the story.

    The investigation has nothing to do with recruiting tactics, so any implication about “miraculous” growth of the program is just dumb. And the turnaround has been slow and steady, led by a coach, Butch Davis, who has built programs before and knows what he is doing. National recruits, as you call them, were interested because everybody in the business recognizes that Butch Davis is a fine coach.

    • Eddie

      Inside Carolina did not break the story either. They only reported on it after the news had become public. It’s all Carolina’s way of making it look like like they are top of the problem, but only after someone has caught the at it.

  • Eric

    Was Mack Brown cheating in the mid 90′s? Every good coach that has come to Chapel Hill has done well.

  • Joe

    Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. This dark cloud could destroy a potentially great season for UNC.

  • random guest

    Why are they always messing with the players. It’s ridiculous, I mean billions are made off of the backs of the players. I know that they receive a “free education” and free coaching for their services, but it’s a limited education at best. If you want to play then most of your time has to be devoted to film study, workouts, and practice. Forget about an internship during the summer if you want to play in the fall. This places an athlete at a disadvantage if they are not lucky enough to make it to the league. Some of the degrees that these guys are graduating with are just ridiculous. It’s disturbing that the coaches get hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, and if an athlete takes even free pampers for a child then he risks losing eligibility. I know, call it cheating, but these kids are starving. God forbid if they get hurt. There’s little difference between what pimps do to females than what the NCAA is doing to these athletes (pure prostitution). If you give these kids a much deserved bigger piece of the pie then these types of damaging incidents will not be as prevalent.

  • djamsdaddy

    wazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaa

  • Jeremy

    LOL, does not affect recruiting, PLEASE! Recruits hang out with players on visits and know these players are being taken care of, it may not be directly be linked to recuriting but it certainly has an affect.

  • ethanhinsondesign

    Austin and Balmer are supposedly best friends…so if you can’t stay at your best friends appartment or drive their car, just what do they allow you to do in college these days? I can even almost forgive the twitter comment (though I never saw it), but you should have more tact than that at this point to try and draw any attention. And if one of these guys is driving around in a Bentley, or getting some ridiculous chain, then they are a moron and deserve whatever happens to them

    I’m sure the interviews were much further reaching than just the draft prospects. But so far, all I’m really hearing about is Marvin Austin and Greg Little….just hoping for the best…

  • Bill Polian

    As long as Duke is in the ACC UNC will never be the laughingstock. Even if they don’t have any scholarships and have only walk ons.

    • King Ricearoni

      Weak. UNC fans’ obsession with Duke is funny.

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