UNC's Austin, Little, Quinn dismissed from team

Staff writerOctober 11, 2010 

North Carolina seniors Marvin Austin and Greg Little and junior Robert Quinn are out for the football season as the result of an NCAA investigation into the Tar Heel program.

Austin has been dismissed from the team, and Little and Quinn are out for the season because of untruthfulness, Chancellor Holden Thorp said this morning. An announcement from the university is forthcoming.

Quinn, a first-team All-ACC performer at defensive end last season, has one year of eligibility remaining. However, as a highly regarded NFL draft prospect, he might decide not to return for his senior season.

All three players have been withheld from games since the beginning of the season because of the NCAA’s investigation into improprieties involving sports agents and possible academic misconduct connected to an undergraduate tutor.

They are among more than a dozen Tar Heel players who have missed games as a result of the NCAA’s probe.

Before the season opener against LSU, 13 players were withheld in connection with the investigation. Tailback Shaun Draughn returned after missing one game. Safety Da’Norris Searcy returned after being held out for three games.

Cornerback Kendric Burney and safety Deunta Williams received NCAA suspensions for receiving extra benefits. Williams returned Saturday against Clemson after a four-game suspension; Burney is set to play Oct. 23 at Miami following a six-game suspension.

The school announced Saturday that safety Jonathan Smith is out for the rest of the season. Also Saturday, the school announced that another player, fullback Devon Ramsay, is being withheld in connection with the probe.

Others who have yet to play this season whose status remains unclear are cornerback Charles Brown, defensive lineman Michael McAdoo, defensive back Brian Gupton, defensive end, Linwan Euwell and tailback Ryan Houston.

North Carolina associate head coach John Blake resigned Sept. 5 after being connected to the investigation. His lawyers have admitted that he has received “gifts” or “loans” from sports agent Gary Wichard, a longtime friend of Blake.

Blake was the position coach for Austin and Quinn, two of the players who were declared out for the season today.

Austin, a defensive tackle who was projected as a first-round NFL draft pick before the suspension, made two trips to California to train at a facility where Wichard’s clients have trained for the NFL draft. Austin’s lawyer, Christopher Lyons of Miami, has said Austin was under the impression that Kentwan Balmer, a former Tar Heel teammate and Wichard client, paid for the trip.

Lyons has said that in addition to the California trip, three trips by Austin to Miami and some trips to his hometown of Washington, D.C., also had attracted the attention of NCAA investigators.

Blake, Wichard, Austin and Balmer all have been interviewed in the North Carolina Secretary of State’s investigation into possible violations of the state’s uniform athlete agent act.

Quinn plays defensive end and also is rated as a first-round talent should he decide to enter the draft after this, his junior season.

Little, a wide receiver, also is projected as a draft prospect, but isn’t as highly rated as Austin and Quinn. His father, Greg Little Sr., said in July that Little took a spring break trip to Miami in March with Austin, but that Little Sr. gave him money for all his expenses.

Today, Greg Little Sr. told the News & Observer and Charlotte Observer that lawyer Butch Williams is speaking for the family.

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