As Inside Carolina reported on Thursday evening, the investigation centers on possible improper benefits provided to seniors Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle, and Greg Little, a wide receiver, as well as several other NFL Draft prospects that elected to come back for the 2010 season. The NCAA inquired about benefits coming from non-University influences that included rent, jewelry and travel.
New information has emerged that the travel inquiries included weekend trips to both Miami and Las Vegas. While Austin’s travel expenses to South Florida remain a focal point of the investigation, IC has confirmed that an undisclosed player’s travel expenses for one of the trips in question were properly paid for by an immediate family member.
South Carolina confirmed on Sunday that its tight end Weslye Saunders, a Durham, N.C. native, has also spoken with NCAA investigators. ESPN reports that inquiry was concerning time he spent with Austin in South Florida this spring and who paid for hotel rooms and travel.
Inside Carolina has also learned that the NCAA investigation includes the involvement of two high-profile sports agents, one of whom is currently serving as an agent for a former UNC football player.
Austin told IC last December that he received approximately 10 phone calls from various sports agents on Dec. 1, 2009, as the NFL and NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement states that certified contract advisers are allowed to communicate with a player three years removed from his high school graduation after the conclusion of the player's last regular season or conference championship game or Dec. 1, whichever is later.
North Carolina is one of many football programs to host an “Agent Day” on campus during the spring, an event designed to expose players to a representative from the NFL, an agent and a financial adviser. A school official confirmed that UNC held its event this year on Apr. 10.