Associated Press

AP Exclusive: SEC’s Sankey Refuses to Step Down in UNC Case

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has denied a request seeking his removal as head of the NCAA infractions panel handling North Carolina’s ongoing academic case because of a conflict of interest. Sankey stated in an April 14 letter obtained by The Associated Press that the panel would “fairly decide this case.” “The panel, including me, will hear and decide this case based on the case record and the membership’s bylaws,” Sankey wrote to all involved parties. Elliot Abrams — a Raleigh attorney representing a retired office administrator charged with violations — had written the NCAA saying Sankey had a...

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ACC Extends Deals with North Carolina Sites After Law Change

The Atlantic Coast Conference has added a replacement year to contracts for North Carolina venues that lost championships when the league relocated events due to a law limiting protections against LGBT people. The ACC had pulled 10 neutral-site championships for the 2016-17 season. The state passed a compromise bill to roll back elements of the law in March, and the league announced a day later it would return to North Carolina in 2017-18. The league announced Wednesday that restructured contracts would “compensate” venues with a replacement year as a host. That comes a day after the NCAA awarded several...

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Ex-NC Central QB Receives Probation in UNC Agents Probe

A former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law has received probation in a deal with prosecutors. Michael Wayne Johnson Jr., 28, was charged in 2013 with three felony counts of athlete-agent inducement from 2010. Under terms of the conditional discharge agreement Tuesday, those charges were reduced to misdemeanors and will be dismissed if he complies with all terms over the 12-month probationary period. The charges included providing a place for agent Terry Watson to meet former Tar Heels player Greg Little to provide him $5,000 in an effort to entice Little to sign a...

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NCAA Returns Events to NC After State Rolls Back LGBT Law

The NCAA has awarded men’s basketball tournament games in 2020 and 2021 along with several other championship events to North Carolina after the state repealed elements of a law that limited protections for LGBT people and put it at risk of being passed over as a host for future events. The governing body announced decisions Tuesday for events through 2022, two weeks after the NCAA said it had “reluctantly” agreed to consider North Carolina again for hosting duties. It had stripped North Carolina of seven championship events for the past sports season — including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games...

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Ex-Agent Pleads Guilty in Multi-Year UNC Sports Agent Probe

A former NFL agent has pleaded guilty to violating North Carolina’s sports agent law by providing thousands of dollars in improper benefits to three former Tar Heels football players to entice them into signing contracts with him. Terry Watson entered his plea Monday afternoon in a deal to resolve 3 ½-year-old felony charges. Watson received 30 months of probation and a $5,000 fine, while Judge Graham Shirley issued a suspended jail sentence of six to eight months. Watson pleaded guilty to the 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement for providing roughly $24,000 in cash and travel accommodations to eventual NFL...

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Man Charged in UNC Agents Probe Agrees to Testify in Case

A Georgia man charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law has agreed to testify against an NFL agent also charged in the case. Patrick Mitchell Jones, 43, was charged in 2013 with athlete-agent inducement for providing $725 to former Tar Heels football player Robert Quinn. An indictment stated he provided the money through Quinn’s former girlfriend to entice Quinn to sign with agent Terry Watson. Jones appeared in court Monday in a deferred prosecution deal requiring him acknowledge is involvement and “testify truthfully” against Watson, according to a court document. That could lead to his charge’s dismissal if...

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Justice Department Drops North Carolina LGBT Rights Lawsuit

The Trump administration is dropping a lawsuit against North Carolina after the state moved to undo its “bathroom bill.” Justice Department lawyers filed a motion Friday to dismiss their federal lawsuit. The move doesn’t directly affect separate pending litigation by LGBT rights advocates who say the new North Carolina law doesn’t go far enough to ensure rights for all. North Carolina’s compromise deal last month got rid of the most well-known provision of House Bill 2 that required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. But the replacement law...

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Attorney Wants SEC’s Sankey Off NCAA Panel Hearing UNC Case

An attorney in North Carolina’s ongoing academic scandal wants Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey removed as head of the NCAA infractions panel hearing the case because of a conflict of interest. Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams wrote the NCAA this month saying Sankey “has a personal, professional and institutional interest in the outcome” of the case involving his client, Deborah Crowder, a retired UNC office administrator. In a second letter Tuesday, Abrams stated the third Notice of Allegations outlining charges against Crowder and UNC should be tossed out. He says they are the result of “inappropriate pressure from a conflicted...

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NC GOP Leader Promises No Action on Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

One of North Carolina’s leading Republican politicians says there will never be a hearing for proposed legislation aimed at countering the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. House Speaker Tim Moore of Kings Mountain said in a statement Wednesday that the bill introduced this week won’t be considered because the nation’s highest court “has firmly ruled on the issue.” A bill introduced Tuesday claims that the nation’s highest court overstepped its authority with its 2015 gay-marriage ruling. Republican Reps. Larry Pittman of Concord, Michael Speciale of New Bern and Carl Ford of China Grove say the decision effectively...

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Bill Would Force Schools to Leave Leagues That Boycott State

Some lawmakers want to make North Carolina’s public colleges leave their athletic conferences if those leagues boycott the state. A House bill filed this week and sponsored by four Republicans would require schools in the University of North Carolina system to begin the withdrawal process from their conferences if the organizations enact a future boycott. Both North Carolina and N.C. State are charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. That league pulled 10 neutral-site championships from the state for the 2016-17 academic year in response to a law that limited protections for LGBT people. After that law was rolled...

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