Attorneys in UNC football scandal given 40,000 pages of evidence

December 17, 2013 11:23:28 AM PST
Attorneys for the five people who have been indicted in the scandal alleging improper benefits for University of North Carolina football players were given thousands of pages of evidence in the case Tuesday.

The defendants include former North Carolina Central quarterback, Michael Wayne Johnson, Jr., who is accused of serving as a runner for Georgia-based sports agent Terry Watson.

Along with Watson and Johnson, two other associates Patrick Mitchell Jones and Willie James Barley Jr., have been banned from having any contact with UNC student athletes and banned from all athletic facilities.

Investigators allege the men gave improper benefits to former UNC players to encourage them to sign with Watson 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 also charged with 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement and one count of obstruction of justice.

An indictment alleges Johnson helped funnel a total of $5,200 to former UNC player Greg Little from Watson. Johnson was the starting quarterback at NCCU at the time. He's a Hillside High School graduate.

According to an arrest warrant, former UNC player Marvin Austin told investigators Barley helped him get a payment of $2,000 in cash from Watson. The money was delivered in a FedEx package to Austin's Chapel Hill apartment under a bogus name.

Meanwhile, Jones is accused of trying to get UNC defensive end Robert Quinn to sign with Watson.

The first person indicted in the case is former UNC tutor Jennifer Lauren Thompson (now married and the former Jennifer Wiley). She was also charged with athlete-agent inducement. The indictment against Thompson says in May 2010, she attempted to get former player Greg Little to sign with Watson.

Austin, Little, and Quinn 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.

In court Tuesday, all the defendants' lawyers were given 40,000 pages of evidence and audio recordings. None of those charged was in the courtroom.

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.

Meanwhile, an April 29, 2014 status conference has been scheduled to determine when the case can move forward.

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