Former North Carolina and Rutgers defensive back Chris Hawkins appeared in an Orange County, N.C., court via teleconference Tuesday after he was arrested for acting as an agent and violating North Carolina law for attempting to lure college athletes to break NCAA agent rules, according to the Associated Press.
Hawkins has been charged with contacting former Tar Heels defensive end Robert Quinn on behalf of an agent by providing $13,700 in cash and helping Quinn secure another $1,700 through selling game-used equipment. He has also been charged with contacting UNC defensive back Jabari Price without being an agent and intentionally failing to register as an agent. The latter two charges are misdemeanors.
The Hawkins case is part of a larger probe by the North Carolina Secretary of State office for violating agent contact laws in the Tar Heel state. Quinn, along with defensive lineman Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little, were suspended by the NCAA for violating the organization’s impermissible benefits bylaws. Little and Quinn were ruled ineligible by the NCAA, while UNC kicked Austin off the team. Ultimately all there were banished from the North Carolina athletics program.
Forty-three states have such laws regulating contact by agents, though anecdotal evidence says North Carolina’s are the most stringent. The state of Georgia recently adopted the “Todd Gurley” bill, which criminalizes the attempt to lure college athletes to accept benefits deemed impermissible by the NCAA.
As for Hawkins, Tuesday was just the initial appearance for his case, where District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett secured a $300,000 bond.
A trio of former football stars will no longer, in any way, shape or form, be permitted to associate with any facet of the North Carolina football program, documents released by the university revealed Tuesday.
In letters to Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Robert Quinn dated Nov. 15 and signed by athletic director Bubba Cunningham, the current NFL players were informed that they have been “permanently disassociated” from the university. The permanent disassociation, The Associated Press writes, means that all three players are barred “from the Kenan Football Center or other campus athletic facilities, and prohibit them from providing recruiting or financial assistance for athletics.”
“The integrity of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s intercollegiate athletics program has been damaged through your actions,” Cunningham said in the letter. “We will take every step necessary to protect our intercollegiate athletics program from future NCAA rules violations.”
All three missed their final collegiate season in 2010, either because of dismissal (Austin) or being declared permanently ineligible (Little, Quinn), for accepting impermissible benefits from an agent and/or runners for an agent. Little (pictured) acknowledged that he had received more than $20,000 from an agent during his time in Chapel Hill, including a “stipend” of $2,200 a month at one point.
Five individuals, including Georgia-based agent Terry Watson and former UNC tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson, have been indicted in connection to the illicit benefits/academic scandal that landed the football program NCAA sanctions.
All five of the indicted ones were sent permanent disassociation letters as well.
The saga that led to North Carolina getting hit with a postseason band and recruiting sanctions a couple of years ago has seen a new wrinkle in the fallout. A sports agent in Georgia was arrested and charged for violating laws in the state of North carolina related to sports agents, according to an unsealed indictment, according to a report by CBSSports.com.
Former North Carolina football players Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Greg Little were all connected to agent Terry Watson. The three players, now in the NFL, were found guilty of accepting extra benefits amounting to about $24,000, violations that landed North Carolina’s football program on a postseason band and losing a number of scholarships as well. North Carolina law requires agents to be registered with the Secretary of State’s office, which Watson never did. Watson’s providing extra benefits not only were against NCAA rules, but also broke state rules in North Carolina. In addition to those violations, Little was also charged with obstruction of justice by not providing his financial records during the investigation.
North Carolina is currently paying off their NCAA sanctions, but the Tar Heels are now eligible for postseason play this season if they can manage to climb their way back to a six win mark this season after a poor start. The scholarship reduction was a three-year sentence that will expire in 2015 when a probation period expires.
Former North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little admitted to investigators he received payments from a sports agent in 2010. The NCAA has closed the book on an investigation in to North Carolina but authorities continue to dig deeper to determine if laws related to sports agents were broken. Little was ruled ineligible in October 2010 as a result of the NCAA investigation that resulted in a postseason ban and other sanctions for the Tar Heels.
The Associated Press reports Little confessed to receiving monthly payments from Terry Watson, from Watson Sports Agency, and investigators believe Watson provided over $20,000 in extra benefits to Little and another former Tar Heel, Marvin Austin. Little spoke to investigators in January to clear his conscious it seems, telling the investigators he was “ready for this chapter of his life to be over and to get on with his life on a clean slate.”
The NCAA already handled this situation at North Carolina, so this may not be an issue of the organization missing something as egregious as a mythical class for football players. The Tar Heels ended up making a change at head coach by removing Butch Davis and eventually hiring Larry Fedora. This season the Tar Heels are once again eligible for postseason play after serving their one-year postseason ban that stemmed from the previous NCAA investigation.