Davis: UNC cooperating with NCAA probe
CHAPEL HILL (WTVD) -- North Carolina's Secretary of State is now launching a criminal probe into possible agent misconduct with the UNC football program.
Elaine Marshall is stressing her job is to focus on professional sports agents and not players, coaches or the football program.
"We'll be investigating the agents," she said. "We will not be investigating the school."
Currently, the NCAA is conducting an investigation to try to find out if Tar Heel players accepted gifts from agents.
Published reports indicate senior defensive lineman Marvin Austin arranged the flight to Miami and hotel for suspended Alabama player Marcell Dareus to attend the notorious agent party.
That development comes as UNC Head Football Coach Butch Davis spoke publicly at the annual Pigskin Preview meeting Thursday and said there was not much he could say publicly.
"We're doing absolutely everything from a cooperative standpoint," he said.
Davis said the NCAA has told him it will wrap up the probe as soon as it can.
He also said he's confident his staff behaved properly.
"We take a great deal of pride in doing things ethicly and honestly," he said.
If the NCAA finds the players did accept hand-outs, the college sports association would likely penalize the players and could sanction the school. But they could not touch the rogue agents.
"It's been going forever and ever," Durham Attorney and Sports Agent Butch Williams said.
Williams says it's a common dilemma where players are punished and the agent is not.
The NCAA, a college sports association, cannot force agents to turn over documents, but the Secretary of State does have subpoena power to seize records.
Marshall could also subpoena Tar Heel players, coaches and administrators.
"We can subpoena the records to put together the case and we will do what we need to do in this case," she said.
However, Marshall continues to stress her target is not UNC. She says right now she is only after the agents her office licenses and regulates.
"We will do a thorough investigation, inquiry of this," Marshall said. "We have notified parties, institutions, instructed folks about destroying and maintaining records. All of that kind of stuff."
Sports agents in North Carolina can get jail time if caught offering gifts to amateur players.
Many of the Secretary of State's investigations are first triggered by complaints, but this one was not.
In fact, UNC's athletic department did not ask for an investigation of agents who may or may not have been circling their football program.
Meanwhile, the office which regulates sports agents told ABC11 Eyewitness News on Tuesday that there was no investigation, because no one had filed a written complaint. On Wednesday, there was still no written complaint filed.
unc football, local/state
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