Greg Little’s father claims Little only went on a trip to Miami in March. Oops. Make that May as well. UNC proclaims multiple times that the NCAA has mandated they not speak about the investigation. Oops. The NCAA says this is not true – even if they had the legal authority to issue a gag order, which they do not. A high school recruit clearly tells a local newspaper that Butch Davis told him that UNC isn’t going to miss any bowl games or get in any trouble with the NCAA. Oops. The recruit then mysteriously makes an appearance to say that it was completely different coach that fed him that story. The NCAA states that former UNC-CH football player and current NCAA investigator, Marcus Wilson, will not be involved with the NCAA’s investigation of his alma mater. No way…really? Another one?
A lot of Wolfpackers have been wondering what the hell has been going on with the NCAA’s investigation of North Carolina’s football program…particularly after a key figure in the improper benefits scandal, Kentwan Balmer, told the Associated Press this weekend that the NCAA has not contacted him about the investigation yet.
Add another stubbing of the toe to the NCAA’s week —
First, you need to re-acquaint yourself with Marcus Wilson. (Click here). (Go ahead. Take your time reading the link. We’ll still be here when you are done.)
Wilson is the former UNC-CH football player and big time Tarheel fan that is currently the NCAA’s Assistant Director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism Activities. Shortly after we first called your attention to Wilson the NCAA issued a statement proclaiming that he was not involved in UNC’s investigation. Despite that proclamation, some of our readers shared some prescient insight and perspective at the time:
while he has recused himself from the unc-ch portion, he is one of the investigators that is investigating other schools, like Georgia, and players supposedly involved in the same Miami parties. So he is involved in a sideways sort of way.
And being one of the 7 investigators and a an assistand director, how could he not have some influence?
if he were to uncover relevant information while investigating Georgia or other players, how motivated would he be to pursue â€˜on the marginâ€™ info if it negatively impacted the program where he played?
That is the important question — If Wilson is allowed to remain on the investigation in any capacity, he has not recused himself at all. The ability to bury damaging information gleaned from other universities under investigation could help unc. This still stinks unless he is completely removed, and in my opinion, reassigned for the duration of the investigation.
With ^this as your backdrop, I call your attention to tonight’s blog entry by Joe Giglio of the News & Observer (evidently the only real journalist left in America).
An NCAA investigator asked South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about his friendship with University of North Carolina senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin, his online interaction with Austin via the social media site Twitter and a trip to Washington, D.C., according to Saundersâ€™ father.
Barry Saunders, a metro columnist for The News & Observer, said Wednesday that Marcus Wilson, the NCAAâ€™s assistant director in charge of agentsâ€™ activities, interviewed his son twice this summer.
Wilson, a former UNC football player, is one of seven members of the NCAAâ€™s enforcement staff who work in the area of Agent, Gambling and Amateur Activities.
The NCAA also visited Chapel Hill this summer to interview North Carolina football players â€“ including Austin â€“ as part of an investigation into allegations of impermissible contact with sports agents. NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined to comment on Wilsonâ€™s interviews with Saunders but said Wednesday that Wilson is not involved in â€œan UNC investigation.â€
â€œThe NCAA does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations â€“ including which staff members may be investigating them,â€ Osburn wrote in an e-mail response to the N&O.
Osburn also cited an NCAA conflict of interest policy that would prohibit Wilsonâ€™s potential involvement with the investigation at UNC.
According to the text provided by the NCAA:
â€œAny enforcement staff member who has or had a personal relationship or institutional affiliation that reasonably would result in the appearance of prejudice should refrain from participating in any manner in the processing of the involved institutionâ€™s or individualâ€™s infractions case.â€
Rachel Newman Baker and Chance Miller were the two NCAA investigaors who interviewed an undisclosed number of UNC players on July 12 and July 13, according to a public records request by The N&O.
The N&O has confirmed that Austin and receiver Greg Little were two of the players interviewed. Littleâ€™s father said last month that Little was asked about potential improper contact with an agent. Both Austin and Little, regular starters for the past three seasons, have been practicing with the Tar Heelsâ€™ second-team units while UNC prepares for its Sept. 4 opener against LSU.
Wilson was a reserve offensive lineman at UNC for three seasons from 2000 to 2002. In addition to Saunders, Wilson interviewed Georgia receiver A.J. Green earlier this summer, according to The Associated Press.
Saunders, whoâ€™s from Durham, was interviewed in July and again on Aug. 10, his father said. Weslye Saunders also provided bank records and phone records for the NCAA, according to Barry Saunders. The same information was requested of the UNC players, according to a public record request.
Ya don’t say?
Of course it makes all the sense in the world for an NCAA investigator to question the upstanding young Saunders about his close friend, Marvin Austin. But, what doesn’t make sense is that MARCUS WILSON would be the NCAA investigator asking the questions of Saunders!?!?!
Marvin Austin and Weslye Saunders are so connected that nobody with an IQ north of 80 could imagine that segmenting the investigation of one from the other.
- particularly after the two were told to cut off all communication after this story broke in July
- Particularly after the rumors that the two were actively comparing notes on what kind of money and packages that agents were offering the other
- particularly after they obviously took trips together as evidenced by this picture (left) of Saunders taken & Tweeted by Austin on April 24th of this year in what sure looks to be a hotel room apparently in Austin’s hometown of Washington, D.C.
Have any final doubts about how close these two are/have been throughout all of this? Check out this tweet archived on the internet that has previously been referenced in other stories:
On Saturday 19th June 2010, @ANCHORMANAUSTIN said:
“Good idea!!! RT @WesSaunders88: I’m bout to delete my Twitter account. I dont wanna sound paranoid…but im pretty sure people are following me”
In some parallel universe, it makes sense for a former UNC-CH football player to be this intimately involved involved in this investigation. And, in that universe the NCAA is known as a rationale, efficient, consistent and competent organization.
God bless these kids if they dared sell any of their shoes or misused their free tickets.
Somewhere, Barry Saunders is praying for a Duke lacrosse player to get arrested for jaywalking tonight.