SBD/October 17, 2013/Labor and Agents

DA Expects More Indictments To Come In Uniform Athlete Agent Act Case

The North Carolina district attorney who is prosecuting three people on charges they violated the Uniform Athlete Agent Act said he expects two more indictments in the case will be unsealed within the next two weeks. Jim Woodall, the DA for Orange County, N.C., declined to reveal the identities of the two other people or say if either were NFL player agents certified to represent players in contract talks. Woodall earlier this month unsealed indictments charging NFL player agent Terry Watson, real estate agent Patrick Jones, and former Univ. of North Carolina tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson with violating the act, which prohibits agents and others from providing student athletes with anything of value that could jeopardize their eligibility to play college sports. All the indictments are the result of an investigation undertaken by the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office into UNC suspending more than a dozen football players in '10. Watson, the only NFLPA-certified agent who has been indicted so far, had been suspended by the NFLPA in March, as the union had undertaken its own investigation into the allegations. Russell Babb, Watson’s attorney, had no comment on the NFLPA investigation. On the charges in North Carolina, Babb said, “We are carefully studying the indictment and the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. I feel like we are in unchartered territory because no one, to my knowledge, has been prosecuted for an alleged violation of this statute in North Carolina.” Woodall said he, too, is unaware of anyone who has been prosecuted under the Act, not only in North Carolina, but in the U.S. The Act has been adopted in 43 states. “I don’t know if anyone has been prosecuted under the Uniform Athlete Agents Act,” Woodall said. “I certainly did spend some time trying to find some case law and I found absolutely nothing."
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