Charges dropped against former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley in sports scandal

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Thursday that charges have been dropped against former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley in a scandal involving school players.

Wiley (now married and known as Jennifer Lauren Thompson) was charged with athlete agent inducement - 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.

"After looking at the facts and sitting down with Ms. Thompson, Mr. Woodall determined that the cases against her should be dismissed. Ms. Thompson committed no crime at any time and we commend Mr. Woodall for doing the right thing and dismissing these cases. Ms. Thompson has suffered too much over the last four years and hopefully can now begin to put all of this behind her," said her attorney Joe Cheshire.

The original indictment alleged Wiley provided former UNC football player Greg Little with roundtrip plane ticket to Florida in the amount of $579.50 in an attempt to get Little to sign with Terry Watson of the Georgia-based Watson Sports Agency.

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

Four others charged in the case - an agent and three associates - have charges against them still pending.

Search warrants in the sports agent investigation have focused on Little and former UNC football player Marvin Austin - who allegedly told investigators an agent provided cash and other benefits.

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 Wiley helped them write papers - violating the honor code.

Wiley was banned from UNC and asked her to stay away from players for at least five years.

Due to questions about gifts and academic irregularities, 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 which were popular with athletes.

This past July, Woodall said he agreed to drop a charge against former UNC-Chapel Hill African studies chairman Julius Nyang'oro in exchange for his cooperation in the ongoing investigation of the academic scandal at the school.

After an SBI investigation, Nyang'oro was indicted by an Orange County grand jury in December on a charge of obtaining property by false pretenses. At the time, Woodall alleged Nyang'oro took $12,000 for a class he did not teach.

The UNC review of classes within the department found 54 department classes that had little or no indication of instruction along with at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes for students who did not do all the work.

Athletes made up about 45 percent of enrollments. Nyang'oro stepped down from his chairmanship shortly after UNC began investigating the classes in 2011. He retired in 2012.

Nyang'oro has cooperated with both the SBI investigation and a new investigation that UNC requested Ken Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor, lead. The NCAA announced in July that it has reopened its 2011 investigation of academic irregularities at the school as well.

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