- Kelly Naqi
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North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin is appearing before the Secretary of State's office to give testimony about allegations into whether agents and financial advisers violated the Uniform Athletes Agents Act, a source with knowledge of the investigation into UNC's football program said.
Austin began testifying Friday morning, the source said. A representative from the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State's office was not immediately available for comment.
The North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agent Act requires agents to register with the Secretary of State's office and inform a school's athletic director within 72 hours of reaching a contractual agreement with an athlete. Agents are prevented from furnishing anything of value to athletes before a contractual agreement has been reached. Failure to comply is a felony.
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 advisers 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."
In a concurrent investigation, the school is being investigated by the NCAA for improper benefits allegedly received by some of its football players and for possible academic misconduct.
The NCAA is looking into allegations that a tutor who used to work for coach Butch Davis wrote papers for a number of Tar Heels players, including Austin, wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn.
Quinn, Little and Austin also are being investigated for allegedly receiving improper benefits from agents. Austin has been questioned about multiple trips to Florida for parties and for a trip to California for training sessions.
In addition, the NCAA is looking into the relationship between former North Carolina defensive line coach John Blake and California-based agent Gary Wichard. Blake, who resigned on Sept. 5, used to work for Wichard's company, Pro Tect Management.
A source told ESPN that Blake already has been subpoenaed by the Secretary of State's office and may testify next week. Blake has not returned messages left on his cell phone.
Austin, a senior, is projected as a possible first-round NFL draft pick. He is serving an indefinite suspension for violating unspecified team rules and has not played this season.
South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, who also has been questioned by the NCAA for possible improper agent contact, was dismissed by the Gamecocks on Wednesday. Saunders allegedly accompanied Austin to a Miami party thrown by an agent or his representatives earlier this year.
Kelly Naqi is a reporter for ESPN.