The NCAA officially banned wide receiver Greg Little from intercollegiate sports in 2010. Little’s Tar Heels’ teammate, Marvin Austin, was kicked off the team.
With a search warrant only unsealed this week, we have finally discovered exactly why. In January, Little admitted to investigators that he had accepted more than $20,000 in cash and benefits from Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency, according to the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated).
The program was punished with a one-year bowl ban and the loss of 15 scholarships over a three-year period. The Tar Heels were forced to watch the 2012 ACC title game from home after putting together the best record in the Coastal division last season.
The NCAA’s case is now closed, but the state is still investigating. North Carolina is one of 42 states with laws regulating sports agents. Known as the Uniform Athletes Agents Act, sports agents are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office in order to be monitored and, hopefully, expressly deter agents from enticing amateurs into signing with them.
In the case of Little, the young man did not receive money from Watson directly, but rather through a tutor that is also under investigation. Watson paid former tutor Jenifer Wiley roughly $2,200 each month and she, in turn, relayed the money to Little.
According to Little’s affidavit, he “was ready for this chapter of his life to be over and to get on with his life on a clean slate.”
He should be fine, as will the North Carolina athletic department. Again, it has served its bowl ban and reduced its scholarships. It switched out coaches, firing the successful (in terms of wins and losses, at least) Butch Davis in favor of second-year man Larry Fedora. The NCAA is not looking into it any longer.
However, Watson’s actions may prove to be a Class I felony in the eyes of Secretary of State Elaine Marshall. Should Watson be found guilty, he could face up to 15 months in prison and charges of up to $25,000.