ESPN's Outside the Line program spotlighted former UNC player Marvin Austin and what he has been doing since he was dismissed from the Tar Heel program. The answer is stuff that would probably kill you and me. Austin is asked about the NCAA investigation and gives a variety of PR safe answers. At one point(at around the 5:18 mark) Austin is asked(very pointedly by ESPN's Kelly Naqui) about what he was thinking while he was knowingly violating NCAA rules and whether UNC offered him illegal benefits during recruiting since Austin said that sort of thing went on. Let's just say his denial could have been a little more heartfelt. The problem is there have been plenty of rumors surrounding how UNC was able to steal him away from Florida St. with John Blake's reputation being batted around as primary reason why. Austin also says NFL teams did not express much concern of the NCAA issues which, again, stands in stark contrast to the report from Nolan Nawrocki highlighted by Doc last week.
Once again, Austin is saying most of the right things in public though this is the first time(to my knowledge) he has played the "everyone was doing it" card. Austin still takes full responsibility and even says UNC told him not to take anything unless it was from a family member.
Austin presents an interesting dilemma for UNC fans. On one hand, he could be major factor in how UNC is viewed by recruits. He is a popular player with a big personality and if he is a major contributor in the NFL, it obviously helps the program. Plus, I love watching Tar Heel do well in the NFL. On the flip side, he along with Greg Little and Robert Quinn are mostly responsible for six kinds of NCAA hell raining down on UNC which nearly torpedoed a football season and could yet damage the program further. Unlike Willie Parker, Austin will proudly wear his UNC affiliation on the next level which means, like it or not, he still represents UNC. For most fans it will come down to whether they view Austin as an arrogant, selfish person or a mostly good kid who made some really selfish choices. How he carries himself going forward will probably influence which side fans will ultimately take.