It may not be uncommon, these inducements for college athletes coming from agents who hope to make big money on pro prospects. But one tweet started a dramatic professional and personal trauma for Terry Watson, who now has made a plea deal after facing 14 felony counts in Orange County for athlete-agent inducement and obstructing justice. He’ll now be on probation for 30 months and pay a $5,000 fine. During probation, he’ll not be allowed to work for a sports agency.
Watson’s attorney noted his client had lost his business. His problem began with a tweet from former UNC-Chapel Hill football player Marvin Austin about an expenses-paid trip he took to South Florida. The Secretary of State investigated allegations that football players received improper benefits from agents. In the nearly seven years since, UNC-Chapel Hill has been under a cloud regarding academic-athletics scandal and phony classes and is facing uncertain but likely penalties from the NCAA.
Watson was but part of a huge, money-driven, out-of-control enterprise called “big-time college athletics.” The scope of that enterprise, fueled by boosters and television contracts and millions for coaches, continues to grow, despite hard lessons that should have been learned.