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Agent paid for UNC's Austin's trips, search warrant alleges

A search warrant filed by the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office alleges that sports agent Gary Wichard paid for former North Carolina football player Marvin Austin to travel to California, in apparent violation of North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act.

The warrant, filed by Sam Cabrera, a special agent with the Department of the Secretary of State of North Carolina, seeks Bank of America records for an account belonging to Wichard. It alleges that Todd Amis, Austin’s former high school assistant coach, paid for Austin to travel to California in March 2009 and July 2009.

According to the warrant, Amis said Wichard then reimbursed him $1,000 for Austin’s March 2009 flight to California, where he trained at a facility called Pro Active Sports with former teammate Kentwan Balmer.

UNC asks NCAA to postpone Ramsay's appeal hearing

UNC has asked the NCAA to postpone Thursday's appeal hearing for Tar Heels fullback Devon Ramsay, who was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA earlier this fall.

In a statement issued by the university's sports information office this afternoon, North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour said, "We decided it was in his best interest to allow more time to develop the case in support of him.  We do not know the date of his rescheduled appeal at this time.”

UNC used PR firm for football spin control

The public relations staff at UNC-Chapel Hill is a learned bunch. The folks who control the university's message and image have been around the block a few times and understand the glare of national media scrutiny.

Still, the recent NCAA investigation into UNC's football program was a new experience, which is why the university turned in August to Hill & Knowlton, an international communications firm with special knowledge handling crisis situations, for help.

Have a read.

Wanted at UNC: Some football-related outrage

When news first surfaced in late September about now-former assistant football coach John Blake's ties to an NFL agent, Butch Davis told a Raleigh radio host he knew nothing about it.

Reacting to a Yahoo! Sports report on the relationship between Blake, then UNC's top assistant football coach, and agent Gary Wichard, Davis suggested that much of what Blake did was impossible for him to know.

"My first observation is, that, you know, in reference to some of the points in the article, is that people have private lives," Davis said in the radio interview.What Davis did not do in that interview, apparently, was to express an adequate level of anger and frustration with Blake.

NCAA rules UNC's Ramsay, McAdoo permanently ineligible

Update from UNC: The NCAA will not require the Tar Heels to forfeit the two wins in which Ramsay played this year. The original release said the "two games in which Ramsay played."

North Carolina football players Devon Ramsay and Michael McAdoo have been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA, the university announced this evening
North Carolina will appeal the decision to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent panel comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences, according to UNC's news release. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but Ramsay and McAdoo will remain ineligible until the appeals process ends.

UNC formally severs ties with former football tutor

The University of North Carolina has sent a disassociation letter severing ties with Jennifer Wiley, the former tutor associated with the school and NCAA's investigation into possible academic misconduct within the Tar Heels football program.

In the letter, dated Nov. 5 and signed by athletic director Dick Baddour, states that Wiley provided impermissible academic assistance to some of the school’s student-athletes in 2009 and 2010.

The letter also states that Wiley provided impermissible financial assistance in excess of $2,000 in connection with travel and transportation issues. The university released the letters to the media this afternoon as the result of public records requests.

Burney cleared to play for UNC

UNC senior cornerback Kendric Burney has been cleared to play this Saturday against William & Mary, the university announced this afternoon.

A first-team All-ACC performer last season, Burney has yet to play this season for the Tar Heels. He was suspended six games for violations of NCAA agent benefits and preferential treatment rules and was scheduled to return in time for Saturday's game against Miami.

But Burney was held out of the game, a 33-10 loss to the Hurricanes, while UNC worked with the NCAA to determine his eligibility status.

Who provided improper benefits to UNC players? UNC and NCAA not saying

UNC and the NCAA will not reveal who provided benefits to UNC players Greg Little, Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin, even as coaches here and across the country criticize, in broad terms, the influence of agents on college players.

The NCAA blasted Little and Quinn today in ruling them forever ineligible to play college football as a result of taking a combined $10,000 in trips, jewelry and more – and not telling the truth about it.

Separately, UNC said Austin also took benefits, worth at least $10,000, and kicked him out of the program without even submitting his case to the NCAA.

Baddour: Little's violations at UNC started after he stopped playing basketball

Correction: Little was a walk-on for the basketball team during the 2007-08 season, not '08-09. He played in 10 games.

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little’s NCAA violations – which resulted in the senior being dubbed permanently ineligible this morning – occurred after his stint as a walk-on for North Carolina’s basketball team during the 2007-08 Final Four season, athletic director Dick Baddour said today.

Little and defensive end Robert Quinn were declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA for violations of agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct issues. The school will not appeal. Meanwhile, senior defensive end Marvin Austin was kicked off the team for similar issues, and UNC will not ask the NCAA to reinstate him.

Austin took extra benefits in the $10,000 to $13,000 range, Baddour said. According to the facts submitted by the university, the total value of the benefits was approximately $4,952 for Little and $5,642 for Quinn.

UNC BOG chair refutes rumors about Butch Davis' future

The chairwoman of the UNC system's Board of Governors refuted message-board rumors that the board had instructed UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp this week to fire Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis.

"None of that happened. None, none, none," said Hannah Gage, the board's chairwoman. "I can assure that none of that happened. That hasn't been part of any discussion we've had."

The system board rarely, if ever, gets involved athletics oversight, a function delegated to individual campuses, Gage said.

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