In the 48 hours or so since word first surfaced that the NCAA was looking into the North Carolina football program, various reports have had a couple to a few to more than a dozen players being of interest to/interviewed by the NCAA.
Regardless of the actual number, there seems to be a pair of players the NCAA has taken a particular interest in. Two key starters who will be an integral part of whatever success the Tar Heels will have in 2010. If they’re eligible to see the field, of course.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little have been interviewed, the paper writes, in connection with improper involvement with sports agents.
Austin’s name comes as little surprise as the outstanding interior lineman was named in initial reports as “a person of interest”. Reportedly, Austin was seen driving a vehicle owned by former teammate and current San Francisco 49er Kentwan Blamer in addition to staying in Balmer’s residence while the ex-Tar Heel was in Chapel Hill working out this offseason.
Balmer’s agent, Gary Wichard, told the News & Observer are the best of friends, but knows nothing about “what’s going on down there.”
“I’ve never talked to him about representing him,” Wichard told the paper. “I’ve never gone down there, and I never will.”
Unlike Austin, Little’s name is a previously unreported one and perhaps the greatest cause for concern. The Tar Heels’ offense is anemic enough with Little; if it’s determined that any improprieties were committed on the part of Little and he’s forced to out of any action for any period of time, it would be a huge blow to UNC’s “attack”.
The senior led the Tar Heels with 62 receptions, 724 yards and five touchdowns.
Both Little and Austin considered leaving school early for the April NFL draft, but they, along with four other starters on the defensive side of the ball — defensive backs Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams, and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter — decided to return for another year after being advised by head coach Butch Davis to stay.