The weekend did very little to quell the rumors and speculation trickling out concerning the NCAA's investigation of UNC football though late Sunday an additional aspect was added to the case. First up, here is the latest rumors to be passed since end of business on Friday.
- The NCAA is apparently not done talking to players and is scheduled to return this week to talk to more players. This could simply be a matter of sorting out player testimony with newly discovered information. The NCAA has also asked for the phone records of juniors and seniors on the team who considered the NFL Draft earlier this year. That move is to determine if they had contact with agents.
- It is known that Marvin Austin appears to be the primary subject of the probe and one of the rumors to make its way around Friday night was that Austin stayed at a four star hotel in Miami and it was paid for by an agent. In fact Austin referred to his spring trip to Miami on Twitter which is really what set all of this crap in motion.
- Everyone and their brother is coming out of the woodwork to claim they saw firsthand Austin and possibly other Tar Heels receive gifts. 99.9 The Fan had at least one caller during the David Glenn Show allege this. Now, a commenter over at The Daily Tar Heel claims to have been living with Austin and saw him receive gifts. If you know anything at all about UNC football and basketball you know the chances of Austin rooming with someone not on the football team is fairly remote. Still these kinds of unsubstantiated claims add to the noise which the NCAA has to filter as they make their determinations.
- Is this probe focused solely on the contact with agent issues? The additional interviews by the NCAA has instigated some apprehension there could be more to it than initially thought.
Most of that is about what you would expect at this point. That is until a twist to it was revealed on Sunday. Apparently the NCAA investigation into UNC has moved to include at least one South Carolina player, TE Weslye Saunders. The senior Gamecock is good friends with Austin and may have been on the alleged Miami trip. He is also the son of N&O columnists and general NCSU antagonist Barry Saunders who quite frankly is a waste of good column space for an industry on the verge of dying. In other words this whole ordeal got about 100 times juicier for Wolfpack fans than it already was seeing the elder Saunders once accused the crowd at the RBC Center of directing racial epithets at opposing players.
Speaking of Wolfpack fans and rival fan bases in general. As UNC fans we are going to take a ton of heat for this. UNC has had a long standing reputation of abiding by NCAA rules while avoiding any type of major investigation or sanctions. That reputation causes some in our midst to assume a "holier than thou" attitude not to mention lording it over NC State in particular since they have twice felt the wrath of the NCAA. What that basically means is the amount of crap that will be tossed in the direction of Chapel Hill during the coming weeks is going to be fairly intense.
You know what? Fine. Let them have their fun. If there is anything certain in life it is that politics and sports rivalries are the most hypocritical and "what goes around, comes around" environments there are. In the two party system, when the party in power does something it is declared evil by the party out of power until that party comes into power and said evil is then perfectly fine. In rivalries, you can have a good laugh about J.J. Redick's DUI in 2006 only to have Ty Lawson's traffic stop haunt you three years later. Or we can yuck it up about four NCSU fooball players getting busted for pot only the bite out tongues this past week when Quan Sturdivant suffered the same fate. My point is rival fans are going to make noise but doing so without a "but for the grace of God goes I" attitude means crow will be on the menu at some point in the future.
More updates as they find the light of day.