Yesterday, the University of North Carolina was required to release phone and parking violation records requested by media outlets after an appeal dating back to April asking that those documents be kept private was denied by a Wake County judge.
Today, information from those documents has been made public as the NCAA continues to investigate North Carolina over allegations that multiple players received impermissible benefits and/or participated in academic misconduct.
According to the Charlotte News and Observer, phone records show that former UNC assistant coach John Blake was in contact with former players Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas while the two players were training at a Pro Tect Management facility in California in the summer of 2009.
Pro Tect was the sports agency run by former agent Gary Wichard, who, documents show, had at least a financial connection to Blake.
The phone records also reportedly show that Blake had a university-paid number to “contact numbers associated with Whichard and UNC head coach Butch Davis” while the players were in California. The records indicate that Blake visited the same city where the training facility is located weeks before Austin and Thomas, sending “calls or texts from Westlake Village, Calif.; Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Los Angeles and more than 20 other California cities between June 28 and July 11, 2009.”
Technically, whether Blake knew his two players were in California at the time of their visit is still unknown. If Blake did know, he would have had to report the trip (reportedly paid for by former UNC player Kentwan Balmer) to UNC’s compliance director.
Austin indicated in a March, 2011 interview that nobody from UNC knew about his trip to California that summer. Austin was one of seven UNC players who missed the entire 2010 season as a result of the NCAA’s investigation of the program.
Blake resigned from UNC last September amidst mounting scrutiny and controversy about his connection to Wichard.
The NCAA has informed North Carolina they plan on concluding their investigation of the program this month. So far, UNC athletic director Dick Baddour has yet to confirm or deny that a notice of allegations is forthcoming.
Additionally, although somewhat less pressingly, the information regarding unpaid parking violations by UNC players has been released as well. That information states that less than a dozen Tar Heel players accrued nearly 400 parking tickets from March 2007 through August 2010. The fines from those parking tickets totaled $13,125, although the university claims all but 30 of those parking violations have since been paid.
“Student-athletes at Carolina do not receive special treatment when it comes to parking,” a university statement said. “They get tickets just like any other student, faculty, staff member or visitor to campus would. The student-athletes are expected to pay their parking fines, just like any other student, faculty, staff member or visitor.”
Former receiver Greg Little, who was ruled permanently ineligible last season along with Austin, apparently tallied a whopping 93 tickets under nine license plate numbers. Three of those tickets have still not been paid.