AP: DA Woodall Drops Charges Against Tutor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A prosecutor has dropped charges against a former UNC tutor who worked with Tar Heels football players for violating the state’s sports agent laws.

Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall said Thursday he dropped the four counts against Jennifer (Wiley) Thompson because she is cooperating with the investigation. A grand jury indicted her a year ago for providing benefits to former UNC football player Greg Little in 2010 to help Georgia-based agent Terry Watson sign Little.

Woodall says Thompson “is more important to us as a potential witness than as a defendant.” Each count of “athlete-agent inducement” was a low-level felony.

In a statement, attorney Joseph B. Cheshire V says that Thompson “can now begin to put all of this behind her.”

Watson and three others face charges in the case.


Jones Makes Third Charged in UNC Football Scandal

HILLSBOROUGH– Patrick Mitchell Jones of Cartersville, Ga. has become the third person indicted in the UNC football scandal.

This latest indictment was unsealed Monday morning. Jones was accused of persuading Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn to sign with sports agent Terry Watson. Jones did not comment after the hearing but will be hiring a lawyer in N.C. soon.

Jones’ bond was set at $20,000. And according to the indictment, Jones handed a third person $725 to aid Quinn.

Terry Watson and Jennifer Thompson, formerly Jennifer Wiley, are the other two indicted. You can read all the details here.


Next Charged In UNC Football Scandal Might Appear Monday

ORANGE COUNTY – Orange and Chatham County District Attorney, Jim Woodall says a third person indicted on breaking the Uniformed Athlete Agents Act could make his or her first appearance in court Monday morning.

He says it is not confirmed that the court appearance will take place, but that he was told it might take place around 11:00 a.m.

Two people—former UNC tutor, Jennifer Thompson, and Georgia-based sports agent, Terry Watson—have already appeared in Hillsborough at the Orange County Courthouse on charges of breaking the UAAA. Five total indictments have been handed out.


Terry Watson: 14 Felony Charges Linked To UNC Football Scandal

HILLSBOROUGH – Sports agent Terry Watson, the second to be indicted on felony charges related to the 2010 UNC football scandal, appeared in an Orange County courtroom Wednesday.

Watson, based-out of Georgia, faces 13 felony counts in violation of the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Act and one count of obstruction of justice, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.

Sports agent Terry Watson

Sports agent Terry Watson


Thirteen charges are for athlete-agent inducement related to gifts provided to former UNC football players Greg Little, Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin. He also faces one felony count of obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum of 15 months in jail for each of the athlete-agent related charges and a maximum of 30 months in jail for the obstruction charge.

Watson is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15, though Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said that could change.

Watson is alleged to have provided Little with $18,200 in cash between May 2010 and October 2010. Watson is also charged with providing Little with $683.24 for a hotel room and $1,574 for airline tickets.

Court documents cite that Watson allegedly provided Quinn with $100, $675.74 for a hotel room in Miami and $750 for airline tickets. Watson is also charged with providing Austin with $2,000.

The Uniform Athlete Agent Act has been adopted by 40 states, including North Carolina, and says any agent must register with the state—specifically the Secretary of State in most cases—in order to act as an agent. Watson was registered in Georgia as a member of the Watson Sports Agency.

The UAAA is designed to shield athletes from sports agents who would offer gifts to entice them to sign representation contracts while competing on the college level.

Last week, Jennifer Wiley Thompson, the former UNC tutor connected to the football program scandal, was the first to be indicted for allegedly violating the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Act. She was charged with agent-athlete inducement on four low-level felony counts.

An Orange County grand jury issued multiple indictments On Sept. 30, three of which remain under seal.

A courthouse official told WCHL that it’s unlikely Thompson and Watson will serve the maximum punishment if convicted.

The degree of their sentence depends on their prior record, and the official said most of these people probably don’t have much of a record, so they’re more likely to just get probation.


Former UNC Tutor Charged With Violating Sports Agent Law

CHAPEL HILL – Jennifer Wiley, the former UNC tutor connected to the 2010 football program scandal, has been charged with violating a state law concerning sports agent- student athlete interaction.

Jennifer Lauren Thompson, known as Jennifer Wiley before her marriage, is charged with agent-athlete inducement on four low-level felony counts.

Wiley speaking with her attorney

Wiley speaking with her attorney

Thompson made a brief appearance in Orange County District Court on Thursday afternoon, and one of her lawyers, Elliot Sol Abrams, said this following the hearing:

“We would just remind everyone that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.”

Judge Lunsford Long presided over the hearing before an Orange County grand jury on Tuesday and immediately sealed the indictment documents.

“Mr. Cheshire [Wiley’s other lawyer] and I are not at all convinced that she has committed a crime,” Abrams said. “We look forward to reviewing the State’s case and meeting with Mr. Woodall to discuss these matters.”

Five people in total were indicted this week on charges related to the North Carolina Uniform Athletes Agents Act. District Attorney Jim Woodall hasn’t released the names of the other four.

Woodall said Thursday that no one ever has ever been charged under the Athlete Agent Act.

“What we all need to recognize is that this is new territory for everyone involved,” Abrams said. “No one has ever been charged with this crime. So, I think that this is something that the District Attorney’s office has continued to look into, and we have to continue to look into.”

Wiley’s indictment said that investigators found that she allegedly provided a round-trip airline ticket and delivered packages containing $2,000 and $150 cash for then UNC football player Greg Little in May 2010.

Investigators believe she did so in order to get Little to contact Terry Watson of the Georgia-based Watson Sports Agency.

Thompson was a tutor at UNC and was also found to have inappropriately helped a player, Michael McAdoo, with a paper in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall conducted the investigation that found Thompson had “extensive contact between Wiley and UNC-CH student athletes” and “direct contact between Wiley’s (phone) number and (sports agent) Peter Schaffer.”

“This has been a long and sad road for Jennifer,” Abrams said. “She is a wonderful person. She is a caring person. She’ll continue to act with decency, and she will maintain her dignity throughout this process.”

Wiley was placed under a $15,000 secured bond and is due in court again Oct. 15.


UNC Top Leaders Tackle Athletic/Academic Relations

CHAPEL HILL – In the wake of academic and athletic scandals, UNC is now in a unique position to turn negatives into positives and re-write the role of athletics in university life. Provost Jim Dean, UNC’s chief academic officer, in his first months in the position, said the process of examining academic support to student athletes has already begun.

Dean took over as UNC’s provost on July 1, replacing Bruce Carney, who returned to the faculty after four years in the position. Carney, and former Chancellor Holden Thorp, led the university through tumultuous times in the midst of an NCAA investigation of the University’s football program, that subsequently revealed “irregularities” in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

“It is clear that there are some areas where we haven’t done as well as we should have, and so what we want to make sure is that we really have a very thorough, rigorous framework that we can use for everything that we are doing with student athletes,” Dean said.

UNC Provost-elect Jim Dean

UNC Provost Jim Dean

As former dean of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Dean watched as Carolina’s senior leadership dealt with the blows of the scandals. He said the controversies have been reported “thoroughly,” and as a result there may have been a misconception about how wide-reaching the academic scandals were.

“If you added up all of the things that people have talked about over the past few years, in terms of the number of people that it has touched, it is actually a really small number of people,” Dean said. “Again, I will emphasize that there’s 800 or so student athletes, and we are talking about a relative handful. If we are talking about courses, it is the same thing. If you are talking about faculty, we are talking about really, really small numbers in a university that has 30,000 students and 3,000 professors.”

Dean said in a few short months, he has forged a strong relationship with Carolina’s new batch of leaders, including Chancellor Carol Folt and Bubba Cunningham, now two years into his role as Director of Athletics. Together, the three have already begun work as the Student Athlete Academic Working Group.

“I think it is natural that when you have that many new people, we will come in and look around and say we have inherited a wonderful university, certainly one of the top universities in the country, but there’s always more that you can do and ways to make things better,” he said. “I do think that some of the problems we’ve had have inspired us to dig a little deeper and try a little harder to make sure that we are doing everything we can to live up to the standards of the university.”

Other members include Michelle Brown, who joined the University last spring as Director of the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes, and Stephen Farmer, Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions. Dean said the group will also examine student athlete recruitment, admission and advising processes.

“It is important for me to say as Provost, I have a responsibility for the academic lives of all students, including all student athletes,” Dean said. “I am working closely with Bubba Cunningham as the Athletic Director, who has responsibility for the student athletes as athletes, and we have a great partnership that we are using to work together.”

Dean said the working group aims to build on recent progress made across campus in strengthening relationships between academics and athletics. Examples include the ongoing work of the Faculty Council’s Faculty Athletics Committee; the reorganization of and new leadership for the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes, which now reports to Dean’s office; and the implementation of the new strategic plan in the athletics department, according to UNC’s website.

In a large scale operation such as UNC, Dean said it is impossible to control every aspect, but examining current processes is a starting place for improvement.

“Whenever you are dealing with people, you can’t really make any guarantees in any sphere of life. But really all well-run organizations have a way that they do things.”

In April, work also began on a college athletics round table discussion commissioned by Holden Thorp and led by Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities. UNC asked the panel to make recommendations about the role of athletics in the life of a university, taking into account the recent challenges the university has faced.  In ongoing discussions, the panel is covering the NCAA, presidential control, amateurism, the current context of the model for college athletics, and the role of faculty.


Why I Support Butch Davis… and the Right to Other Opinions

Guest Column by Barry Leffler

Butch Davis should remain the Head Football Coach at Carolina.

Until it is proven Davis knew about John Blake and his egregious wrongdoings… the coach should stay right where he is leading the great young men who represent our hometown university.
I have known Butch Davis and reported on him since his days as an assistant coach in Miami during the 80’s and 90’s when I worked in local television there. I have seen firsthand how he cleaned up a scandal-plagued program, emotionally and physically scarred by cheaters and wrongdoing.  Davis took control and cleaned it all up.  He did it the right way… and I believe he is doing it the right way at UNC
Locally, I have also seen firsthand his commitment to our community and how he pours his heart into giving back and giving of himself to help countless charities and nonprofits many of us hold dear.  The dozens of causes Davis and his family support strengthens the fabric of the community.
I also support the University and how it has handled this awful period for the school. 
The decision by Chancellor Holden Thorp to not make any rash decisions about Davis and his status until all the facts have been determined is wise.   Duke University is paying the price (literally, in multi-millions of dollars) for jumping to the wrong conclusion about its Lacrosse coach and players.  Had Thorp been running the ship at Duke…  those accused of wrongdoing would have been saved a lot of pain and suffering.
Baddour has invested an incredible amount of time in a commitment to ensuring the investigation is handled properly and without outside influence.  His dedication to understanding what went wrong and fixing broken systems is admirable.
I have the upmost confidence that Thorp and Baddour will do the right thing in regard to Davis’ employment once the facts are determined once and for all.
So if the current “Notice of Allegations” are all true, does that add up to enough to warrant the dismissal of the coach?  My opinion is “no”.
If the final findings determine that Davis did indeed know about what John Blake was doing and covered it up, should he be fired.  My opinion is “absolutely”.
And that leads me to a question of even greater importance:  Does everyone have the right to express his or her own opinion in a public forum such as this one?  Do we want to live in a community where we can express ourselves openly and freely without retribution?  Should those with a differing opinion have the same rights to rebut and express them?
Absolutely. 100%.
As the co-owner of WCHL and Chapelboro.com, I feel it is imperative to provide platforms where members of our community can express themselves… even if those opinions are controversial.  And just as important is providing the platforms for those with a contradictory opinion to argue, discuss and debate.  My hope is that these exchanges will be civil and handled with respect.  Respect not necessarily for the author but respect for the right to offer views… even if they differ widely from our own.
Earlier this week Art Chansky published an opinion column on Chapelboro.com calling for Davis to be fired before the season.  Agree or not… Chansky was not spouting racism or anti-semitism or other hate-based speech.  He was not attacking a private person. 
I don’t agree with what Chansky wrote.  I don’t think the Ohio State case is comparable.
But he is far from the first person in our community who thinks what has gone on with the UNC football program is egregious enough that the Coach and Athletic Director should lose their jobs over it.
This topic is being discussed in every sports bar in town… make that every bar and restaurant in town.  Not to mention the groups by the pool, over the grill… and, of course, online.  How could Chapelboro.com as a community forum not be part of this conversation?  How could we here at Chapelboro and WCHL be relevant to you if we didn’t take on the tough questions?  Residents were equally passionate about whether to move the library to University Mall.  Chapelboro wasn’t online yet but I would hope that had it been, it would have offered a platform for all opinions.  
In the last 24 hours I received some questions about why WCHL and Chapelboro would allow Chansky to express himself via our platforms.
At the end of the day, whether Chansky is biased… or bitter… or a bad person… is irrelevant.
What truly matters is that we provide the opportunity for differing viewpoints to be heard… and for rebuttal to take place.
I am now offering that rebuttal.  I have told many people (including Art Chansky) how Butch Davis brought accountability and respectability to my alma mater when he coached Miami.  I believe in him.  
I believe also that this is a great place to live because people are passionate about their towns, their teams and, yes, their liberties.  
Please continue the discussion the “Comments” section below.
We welcome your opinion on this and any other topic. To write a guest commentary… or be considered for an on-going Local Buzz column, contact molly@chapelboro.com.


Davis Should Go — Now

UNC can still begin moving beyond its regrettable football scandal of the last year, regardless of its final fate from the NCAA. Ohio State has conveniently provided Carolina with the model it should use in order to separate a scandalous past from a brighter future.
The Buckeyes, whose transgressions aren’t nearly as severe as those charged to the Tar Heels, immediately looked ahead by removing decorated head coach Jim Tressel after he bore responsibility for the violations by several of his players. The school installed assistant Luke Fickell as interim coach for the 2011 season.
The dirty laundry Ohio State still must deal with is off to the side and out of the public’s face, while its fans can focus on the new season without the controversy hanging over their heads on a daily basis. And perhaps Tressel’s firing and the Buckeyes vacating all of their 2010 wins, including the Sugar Bowl championship, may lessen their forthcoming NCAA penalties.
Carolina should do the same – immediately – before practice begins in August. Few objective observers truly believe that Butch Davis will survive the NCAA and academic allegations, for which he bears responsibility as the head coach and CEO of the football program but has yet to admit. Chancellor Holden Thorp, to this point a staunch supporter of Davis, told the Raleigh News and Observer that the Michael McAdoo plagiarism case “is another sad part of the whole episode.”
So Carolina’s leadership has two choices:
  1. Allow Davis to coach the 2011 season under constant inquiry and suspicion over what else may come out and what will result from the October 28 hearing with the NCAA.
  2. Remove Davis as head coach, let coordinators John Shoop and Everett Withers coach the team and give the players and fans a break from the non-stop controversy.
If Davis coaches this season, he will face the media at least 50 times after the Operation Football press confab on July 25 in Pinehurst — between training camp, weekly teleconferences and live press conferences and after each of UNC’s 12 games, home and away. There will be constant questions over what has transpired, what may yet be revealed and the NCAA hearing. It’s unreasonable that Davis and Carolina can stonewall their way through such an inquisition.
Even if they can, does the team really need that distraction?
If Davis were removed, UNC’s pile of dirty laundry would be “off to the side” and the Tar Heels could play football out from under the cloud of controversy. How refreshing that would be at this point. Whatever advantage UNC has by Davis’ presence would be negated by the side show he will create after emerging from being virtually underground for the last 7 months.
Making such a move would also give Carolina a chance to plan for the future, and there is an obvious way to do that, as well. Whoever’s in charge at UNC these days (and that’s debatable) should say, “Enough is enough” and start repairing a tarnished image.
“That so many who have nurtured and protected that reputation for so many years . . . haven’t publicly called for Davis’ head is the saddest part of the whole sorry episode.” – Scott Mooneyham, Greenville Daily Reflector

Dick Baddour, who is in the last year of his contract, could announce his retirement effective next June 30 and spend his remaining time in office dealing with the dirty laundry and preparing for October 28. UNC could begin a search for a new athletic director, whose first duty would be to hire a head coach. The next AD should come from the outside with experience in hiring coaches and overseeing those hires when necessary, an area where Baddour failed miserably.
Carolina has a history of no contingency plan that has resulted in the hiring of Carl Torbush, Matt Doherty and John Bunting, all of whom were eventually fired.
Where will UNC be if, next December, the NCAA hands down the major penalties that most knowledgeable pundits are predicting? Georgia Tech received four years of probation and a $100,000 fine for one player receiving impermissible benefits totaling $312. Two years ago, Michigan got three-year probation because its coaches exceeded the weekly 20-hour limit for practice. Clearly, the Tar Heels’ violations are more numerous and egregious.
“Butch Davis and North Carolina could face NCAA penalties more severe than USC even received.”Sporting News

No school has ever been charged with its associate head coach and recruiting coordinator (John Blake) being a paid by an agent while on the university payroll. Since that is unprecedented, there is no telling what kind of sanctions will follow. Also, the academic fraud among players and accused tutor Jennifer Wiley being hired privately by Davis are serious sins in the eyes of the NCAA, according to reports.

“ . . . if proven, those violations rank alongside any of the last decade.” – Sports Illustrated, July 11, 2011
By the terms of his contract and from the hue and cry of alumni, whose university’s reputation and integrity have been seriously compromised, Davis could never be retained if Carolina receives a major NCAA probation. But if UNC waits until November or December to fire Davis and does not have a new athletic director in place by then, what coach would want to come under such a chaotic situation? Certainly, a lame-duck Baddour hiring the fourth football coach of his tenure is not an option.

It is time for UNC to take stock of its current position and begin planning for the future. The Ohio State model looks like a good one to emulate.

That’s my opinion on the UNC football scandal, what’s yours? Comment below.