Marvin Austin’s participation in off-season workout program being investigated

Link here.

Sources told SportsBusiness Journal, a sister publication of Sporting News, that one of the things the NCAA is investigating is who paid for Austin’s training at Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Proactive Sports Performance, a training facility where all of Wichard’s rookie clients have trained for the NFL draft in the last five years. Austin is listed as a client on Proactive Sports’ website. Officials from the training facility did not return phone calls or an e-mail…

Wichard has been quoted as saying that he has not traveled to North Carolina nor recruited Austin. “I’ve never talked to him about representing him. I’ve never gone down there [to North Carolina] and I never will,” Wichard told The Charlotte Observer earlier this month.

He told SBJ last week that he has seen Austin training at Proactive Sports and that he did speak to him on the phone last year. “I spoke to him on the phone when he was thinking about coming out last year,” Wichard said. “Kentwan put him on the phone with me. I told him to go back to college like Ndamukong Suh and get picked as high as you can.”

Kentwan is Wichard client Kentwan Balmer, a defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers who was a 2008 first-round pick out of North Carolina. Suh was the No. 2 pick in this year’s NFL draft after a standout career as a defensive tackle at Nebraska.

Sources said that NCAA investigators have talked to UNC defensive line coach John Blake, who Wichard said has been one of his best friends since 1985.

“John Blake has worked out my players like a number of NFL coaches have,” Wichard said. “I don’t represent him, and he has never been an employee, but he has worked out my players when he was out here [in California] when he was between [coaching] jobs.”

Note that this means that Austin was listed as a client of the strength and conditioning program. I don’t think it is unusual for athletes to participate in these programs, however student-athletes must pay for all expenses incurred due to the participation(flights, living expenses, meals, fees for the program, etc…). His participation by itself doesn’t mean NCAA rules were broken.

General UNC Scandal

13 Responses to Marvin Austin’s participation in off-season workout program being investigated

  1. Pack05 07/26/2010 at 12:30 PM #

    rut roh shaggy

  2. WolftownVA81 07/26/2010 at 12:50 PM #

    We’ll at least we know they never met (according to Mr. Wichard)

  3. bradleyb123 07/26/2010 at 12:53 PM #

    With all this smoke, there HAS to be some fire in all this SOMEWHERE. Doesn’t there?

    What I’m expecting is they will nail Marvin Austin, but his punishment will be only to pay back any money he received, and suspend him for 2-4 games. If he’s guilty of these transgressions, and he just gets a slap on the wrist (as I expect he will), it will be a travesty.

    I know I’m going on a tangent based on a strawman argument here, but if this happens, it will send the message that athletes can accept money, and if they get caught, they’ll just get a slap on the wrist. Basically, as long as they keep their yaps shut on Facebook and Twitter, they’ll most likely get away with it. If the NCAA really wants to put some teeth into punishment, they will rule Austin ineligible for this entire season. THAT type of punishment will make future players think twice about accepting money.

    Another angle is this could turn into a great recruiting tool for Carolina. They will be able to tell future recruiting prospects that if they come to Carolina, they will essentially be ABOVE the law.

  4. Plz2BStateFan 07/26/2010 at 1:45 PM #

    ^ What makes you think he will just get a slap on the wrist?

  5. bradleyb123 07/26/2010 at 2:39 PM #

    I just have a feeling about it. Carolina seems to have people in high (low?) places taking care of them like that. I already thought this, and then that report came out that a recruit claims Butch downplayed what will happen to them. I just have a funny feeling that the punishment will not fit the crime.

  6. newt 07/26/2010 at 2:44 PM #

    Why would Wichard be so adamant about that he “never will” check out Marvin in Chapel Hill?

  7. graywolf 07/26/2010 at 3:22 PM #

    I tend to agree with bradleyb123. The more I find out about this the more I think Carolina gets off easy and I think back to Valvano and the selling of shoes causes 25 years of athletic grief at NC State. I hope they are run over by the NCAA bus but that does not look likely. If this were NC State we would have already gotten the death penalty for football.

  8. Pack05 07/26/2010 at 3:55 PM #

    from the web:

    Miller Safrit of Scout is tweeting from ACC kickoff. He quotes Swofford: “#accfbk Swofford: “We have a situation where an institution could b penalized and a player may be penalized.””

  9. PackerInRussia 07/26/2010 at 3:59 PM #

    I was thinking the same thing, newt. It sounds like he’s going overboard with the “and I never will” comment.

  10. newt 07/26/2010 at 4:06 PM #

    I mean I would think Wichard would be all over Austin as a client, just not illegally paying him. I would fully expect them to be talking. That’s just normal networking.

  11. tuckerdorm1983 07/26/2010 at 5:27 PM #

    the more you stir it the worse it smells

  12. Pack1998 07/26/2010 at 8:53 PM #

    John Blake . . . that is the risk to UNC.

    You gotta figure if just players they are okay, but if a coach has any involvement it is a huge issue.

  13. rtpack24 07/27/2010 at 10:24 AM #

    Butch says they were naive about all this agent stuff. This from a former NFL coach and that took over a program where this stuff was rampant.

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