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Sources: Marvin Austin expected to be suspended by NCAA
University of North Carolina defensive tackle under NCAA investigation Aaron Wilson
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There’s growing concern from University of North Carolina athletic department officials that star defensive tackle Marvin Austin will ultimately be suspended for his entire senior year due to alleged NCAA violations involving extra benefits from agents, middlemen and marketing representatives, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
No action has been taken at this time by the NCAA as they continue to gather information.
“The next time we will see Marvin Austin is at the NFL scouting combine,” our source predicted.
Our source also predicted that Austin might not be the only North Carolina player to face NCAA punishment for alleged rule violations.
According to a source, NCAA investigators interviewed Austin, wide receiver Greg Little, safety Deunta Williams, cornerback Kendric Burney and linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant early last week.
The NCAA has requested phone records and asked players to detail all interaction involving agents.
Austin is close friends with University of South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, another NFL draft prospect who’s under investigation by NCAA officials for alleged rule violations involving agents.
We’ve been told that Austin and Saunders have been told by their respective coaches to no longer associate with each other.
A source said that Austin and Saunders have been regularly comparing notes on agents and marketing representatives throughout the recruiting process, including what inducements the various businesses are offering to try to win them over.
The players have been talking to try to obtain the best “deal” possible from agents, according to a source.
There have been rampant unconfirmed rumors about money changing hands.
The NCAA wants to know who paid for travel and lodging for multiple trips to Miami, travels which were first mentioned on Austin’s Twitter account. Austin has since taken down the Twitter account.
We’re told that Saunders was also on at least one trip to Miami as well as several other players.
The NCAA is also interested in Austin’s travel back and forth to Washington, D.C., his hometown.
Austin has been questioned by investigators about driving a car that belongs to former North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, a San Francisco
Balmer is represented by Gary Wichard, who also represents North Carolina defensive line coach John Blake.
Wichard has denied meeting with Austin.
"I've never talked to him about representing him," Wichard told the Raleigh News & Observer. "I've never gone down there, and I never will."
The North Carolina campus has become a hot spot for agents, middlemen and marketing representatives, especially after several players decided to return to school.
If the players get caught lying to NCAA investigators, they can have their eligibility revoked. That’s what happened with Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Under NCAA guidelines, the governing body for college athletics has the options of either permanently revoking a player’s eligibility, suspending a player temporarily and/or having the player repay the agent
Junior defensive end Robert Quinn has emerged as a potential top 10 draft pick if he declares early for the draft.
Austin, Carter, Little, Burney, Charles Brown and several others are rising quickly on NFL draft charts.
We’re told that former North Carolina cornerback Chris Hawkins is heavily involved in the recruiting process for Burney, which has raised a few eyebrows from agents courting the players.
Burney and Hawkins share the same hometown in eastern North Carolina, Kinston.
It’s unclear which agency Hawkins, who briefly played for the Washington Redskins and the Sasketchewan Roughriders, will wind up steering players to.
Some agents are avoiding recruiting at UNC until the situation calms down while others are intensifying their efforts as the allegations continue to surface.