The fallout from the NCAA’s investigation into the North Carolina football program continues this afternoon with word that one of the central figures in the probe could be on the verge of getting bounced for the all or part of the 2010 season.
As reported by Aaron Wilson of the the National Football Post, Tar Heel defensive lineman Marvin Austin is expected to be suspended by the NCAA for allegedly taking illegal benefits from a a sports agent, or someone connected to a sports agent. At the center of the NCAA’s investigation into Austin is how the defensive lineman paid for a trip to South Florida earlier this year, as well as trips to his hometown of Washington D.C.
A source told the website that “the next time we will see Marvin Austin is at the NFL scouting combine (next February).”
Austin is also good friends with South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, who’s also under investigation by the NCAA over his relationship with unspecified agents. Much like Austin, the NCAA is reportedly questioning the player on how he paid for a trip to Miami earlier this year.
The website writes that “Austin and Saunders have been regularly comparing notes on agents and marketing representatives throughout the recruiting process, including what inducements the various businesses are offering to try to win them over.” As a result of the heat being applied by the NCAA, the respective coaches of both players have urged the duo to no longer associate with one another.
Unfortunately for UNC, Austin might not be the only Tar Heel who feels the wrath of a suddenly emboldened NCAA.
Sources have told the website that, in addition to Austin, NCAA investigators interviewed wide receiver Greg Little, safety Deunta Williams, cornerback Kendric Burney and linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant. Those five players plus Austin all made the decision earlier this year to return to Chapel Hill for one more season with the Tar Heels.
Like we wrote yesterday, and based on what we’ve been told, this investigation has the potential to be even more far-reaching than it already is, with a couple/several schools, a source said, sweating and fretting over their athletes being wrapped up in what is fast becoming a vast quagmire of illegal agent-related shenanigans.