UNC AD says sports agents who break rules should be punished - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

UNC AD says sports agents who break rules should be punished

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An agent with the Secretary of State's office said Greg Little told investigators that Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency provided him with a monthly cash allowance of $2,200 in addition to travel expenses and other payments.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome) An agent with the Secretary of State's office said Greg Little told investigators that Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency provided him with a monthly cash allowance of $2,200 in addition to travel expenses and other payments.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -

The athletics director at the University of North Carolina said Monday that he supports the state's efforts to punish agents who don't follow the rules.

UNC has been under scrutiny in recent years because of a wide-ranging scandal involving the football program.

Last week, search warrants were made public that show former UNC player Greg Little claimed Terry Watson of the Georgia-based Watson Sports Agency provided cash and other benefits.

The law requires agents to register with the Secretary of State's office and prohibits offering gifts to entice athletes to sign representation contracts.

"We think if you can de-mystify the process, that will make it easier for students to make a good selection on who they choose as an agent," Carolina athletics director Bubba Cunningham said Monday.

"So we really support what the Secretary of the State is trying to do which is to regulate it and to make sure agents are registered and anyone associated with them are registered, so our hope is that we prosecute people who don't follow rules of the state."

The football scandal led to the firing of coach Butch Davis, the early retirement of athletics director Dick Baddour and chancellor Holden Thorp stepping down and eventually leaving the school.

Cunningham, who was hired to replace Baddour, said, many sports agents play by the rules.

"A lot of agencies and students have been under attack because of some poor choices but I think if you set up a good plan and follow the plan it will work,” he said. “There are terrific agents out there and we're just hopeful the students will choose one of those agents and not someone trying to make an end run on the process.”

Little, now with the Cleveland Browns, also reimbursed former tutor Jennifer Wiley for expenses paid on his behalf with money received from Watson or a financial adviser, according to a probable cause affidavit in the June search warrant.

While the NCAA investigation is closed, authorities are still reviewing whether laws regulating sports agents were broken.

The state's Uniform Athletes Agents Act requires agents to register with the Secretary of State's office and is designed to shield athletes from sports agents who would offer gifts to entice them to sign representation contracts. North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has said the focus isn't on athletes or schools but on the agents or anyone that provide items of value.

It is a Class I felony to violate the law, meaning a maximum prison sentence of 15 months, and violations also could carry civil penalties of up to $25,000. Prosecution of the law is left to district attorneys in the locations where violations are alleged to have occurred.

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Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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