Authorities over the weekend arrested a Georgia real estate agent accused of trying to coax a UNC football player to sign a sports contract, widening the number of people implicated in the long-running investigation.
Authorities arrested Patrick Mitchell Jones, of Cartersville, Ga., on one count of athlete-agent inducement, bringing to three the total number of people facing criminal charges in connection to a probe by the N.C. Secretary of State’s office.
The News & Observer reported that Jones is accused of trying to induce former UNC player Robert Quinn ’12, a defensive end now with the St. Louis Rams, to sign with Georgia sports agent Terry Shawn Watson.
The Orange County Jail in Hillsborough confirmed that Jones was booked and released Saturday after posting bail.
Jones’ arrest is the latest development in a case that cast a negative spotlight on agent dealings with college athletes. It was not immediately clear whether Jones had an attorney.
Indictments charging Watson with 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement and one count of obstruction of justice — the most charges leveled against any individual in this case thus far — were unsealed last week.
Prosecutors allege that Watson provided Quinn and two other UNC players —Marvin Austin ’12 and Gregory Little ’12 — with cash, airline tickets and hotels rooms, illegal benefits that totaled more than $20,000. All three players were dismissed from the Carolina football program in 2010 for illegal dealings with sports agents.
Former tutor Jennifer Wiley Thompson ’09 has been charged with four counts of athlete-agent inducement. She is accused of giving Little two round-trip plane tickets to Florida, in part to enter a sports contract, and acting as a go-between for cash payments from Watson to Little.
Last week, Orange County District Attorney James Woodall ‘82 said he expected more indictments to be served in coming days, though he declined to say whether they contained the names of more sports agents.
Woodall said the investigation into the UNC case has largely concluded, though he deferred questions about whether investigators would widen their inquiry to agent dealings at other universities, saying, “That’s a question only the Secretary of State’s office can answer.”
A spokesman for the Secretary of State said the office was not commenting on the case.