UNC football players meet today

The football team gathers for the first time since two players were targeted in an NCAA investigation involving agents.

From staff reportsJuly 20, 2010 


Former North Carolina head football coach Butch Davis talks with former defensive tackle Marvin Austin in a file photo. Austin is a key player in investigations involving improper contact with sports agents.

JEFF SINER — JEFF SINER - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina's football team this afternoon will hold its first team meeting since the news last week that NCAA investigators are looking into the program.

Team spokesman Kevin Best, however, said Monday that the Tar Heels have meetings all the time and that this one was not specifically called because of the investigation.

UNC athletic director Dick Baddour confirmed Thursday that the NCAA had been to Chapel Hill to speak with athletes at the school but declined to provide further details. The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer confirmed that two UNC players - defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little, both NFL prospects - were interviewed in connection with possible improper contact with sports agents. In addition, the NCAA also has talked to University of South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, a pro prospect from Durham.

Saunders' father, Barry Saunders, is a metro columnist for The News & Observer.

NCAA rules prohibit college athletes from accepting gifts from sports agents or their representatives. They also are prevented from making any kind of agreement with an agent about future representation.

NCAA penalties for improper involvement with an agent can range from requiring an athlete to repay the benefit to ruling the athlete ineligible for all future intercollegiate competition. Programs that use ineligible athletes can be required to vacate past games from their record.

Tar Heels coach Butch Davis, who has not spoken publicly about the investigation, is scheduled to attend Thursday's eighth annual Pigskin Preview, an event that brings together area Division I football coaches for an informal discussion about the coming season. N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien, Duke coach David Cutcliffe, N.C. Central coach Mose Rison and East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill also are scheduled to attend the luncheon at Durham's Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, but those in attendance will likely be most interested to see what Davis has to say, if anything.

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