Sports agent Terry Watson charged in UNC football scandal

Terry Watson, of the Georgia-based Watson Sports Agency, appears in court
October 9, 2013 3:50:04 PM PDT
Georgia-based sports agent Terry Watson appeared in an Orange County courtroom Wednesday on charges related to the UNC football scandal.

Investigators allege he gave improper benefits to former UNC players to encourage them to sign with him when they later turned pro. North Carolina law requires agents to register with the Secretary of State's office and prohibits offering gifts to entice athletes to sign representation contracts.

Watson is charged with 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement and one count of obstruction of justice. Bond was set at $50,000. Athlete-agent inducement is a Class I felony that carries a maximum sentence of 15 months in prison. Violations could also carry civil penalties of up to $25,000.

Investigators with the North Carolina Secretary of State's office have been looking into whether sports agents broke the law by giving gifts to players for months.

According to search warrants released Wednesday, Watson contacted former UNC football players before he was officially registered as an agent in North Carolina back in 2010 - giving them gifts and providing hotel rooms for them in Miami, Florida.

The warrants allege he funneled $18,200 to former UNC player Greg Little in payments ranging from $5,000 to $2,200 and gave player Marvin Austin gifts in addition to $2,000 in cash.

Former player Robert Quinn is also named in the indictments - saying Watson bought him a plane ticket to Miami, got him a hotel room there, and gave him $100.

In all, investigators allege Watson contacted at least 5 players nearly 400 times. Thirty nine of those contacts are considered illegal.

Last week, former UNC tutor Jennifer Lauren Thompson (now married and the former Jennifer Wiley) was also charged with athlete-agent inducement.

The indictment against Thompson says in May 2010, she attempted to get Little to sign with Watson.

More indictments against others accused in the case are also expected to be unsealed soon.

Austin and Little were kicked off the UNC football team after an NCAA investigation found they had accepted thousands of dollars in trips and gifts from agents. The same investigation said Thompson helped them write papers - violating the honor code.

Due to football program investigations, 13 players sat out the 2010 season opener against LSU, with six players sitting out the entire season. Three of those were either dismissed from the team or declared "permanently ineligible" by the NCAA.

In September 2010, Associate Head Coach John Blake resigned because of questions about receiving money from an agent in California. In July 2011, UNC fired Head Coach Butch Davis. Davis has denied knowing anything about any wrongdoing.

In March 2012, the NCAA issued formal sanctions against the Carolina football program. In May 2012, UNC released a faculty investigation revealing problems in more than 50 African-American studies' classes - classes 'popular' with athletes.

In August 2012, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp announced that the university would study the athletic and academic programs on campus. At the same time UNC appointed former Gov. Jim Martin to investigate the African-American studies classes.

In December 2012, Martin concluded there were 200 "no show classes," and more than 500 "unusual" grade changes going back to 1994.

In September 2012, Chancellor Holden Thorp announced his resignation. He's now the provost at Washington University in St. Louis.

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