Posted by Chip Patterson
The NCAA may have claimed one of their first true victims in the agent-scandal when Weslye Saunders was dismissed from the South Carolina football team earlier this week. While no official ruling had been made from the NCAA, it is assumed that the allegations directly led to his dismissal.
But it's not just the NCAA that can get involved in agent-related scandals in college athletics. There are 36 states which have passed the Uniform Athlete Agent Act, which prohibits, among other things, agents from supplying anything of value to an athlete before a contractual negotiation is reached. Any violation of the act can leave the agent subject to civil or criminal charges. In some cases, violation of the act can be ruled a felony.
North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall announced early in the scandal that her office would launch an investigation of their own, to determine whether or not there were any violations of the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Weeks later there were reports that North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin had been subpoenaed to testify in the investigation.
According to an ESPN.com report, Austin is appearing Friday morning before the Secretary of State's office to give testimony about allegations into whether agents and financial advisors violated the Uniform Athletes Agents Act.
Austin began testifying at 9:30 a.m. ET Friday, the source said. A representative from the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State's office was not immediately available for comment.
The office of the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State subpoenaed Austin earlier this month as part of its investigation into the alleged involvement of some sports agents and financial advisors with UNC student athletes.
When reached by telephone, Austin's attorney, Christopher Lyons, would not confirm whether Austin is testifying, but added, "Marvin Austin is fully cooperating in their investigation and we'll have no further comment until the investigation is concluded.
A source told ESPN that Blake has already been subpoenaed by the Secretary of State's office and may testify as early as next week. Blake has not returned messages left on his cell phone.
The biggest development in these testimonies would be any additional information that could be revealed that could affect the current state of the North Carolina football team. There could be details that were either misunderstood, or omitted entirely from NCAA investigations that would be made clearer when testifying under oath.
North Carolina has only been able to clear one more player, starting running back Shaun Draughn, since their season-opening 30-24 loss to LSU in the Chick Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. However, all of the remaining suspended players have been going through full practice and team activities except for Austin. This could suggest that North Carolina plans on seeing most of their suspended players back on the field at some point, but have little faith that Austin will get a chance to suit up for the Tar Heels this season.