Former sports agent Terry Watson pleaded guilty in an Orange County (N.C.) court Monday to violating state law for offering inducementsto North Carolina football playersto sign with his agency while they were still playing for the Tar Heels, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.
Watson, 43, of Marietta, Ga., acknowledged giving nearly $24,000 in cash, airline tickets or hotel rooms to then-Tar Heels Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Robert Quinn, in violation of North Carolina law and NCAA regulations.
As part of a plea agreement, Watsonwas sentenced to 30 months probation and must pay a $5,000 fine. The NFLPA already has revoked his license to represent players in the league, but the plea agreement bars him from working for a sports agency during his probation. Watson is in chemical sales, according to the News & Observer.
The guilty plea resolves one of the five criminal cases sparked byinvestigations following a tweet by Austin in 2010 in which he wroteabout a lavish trip to South Beach inFlorida, presumably paid for by someone else: “I live In club LIV so I get the tenant rate. bottles comin like its a giveaway.”
Watson faced 14 felony counts in Orange County, where Chapel Hill is located: 13 for athlete-agent inducement and one for obstructing justice. Prosecutors dropped the obstructing justice charge as part of the plea agreement.
Quinn, Austin and Little didn't play for UNC in 2010, while investigations were ongoing. All three were selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, but only Quinn remains in the league with the Rams.Austin and Little both played for four teams but currently are free agents.
The NCAA in March 2012 placed North Carolina's football program on three years of probation and banned it from postseason play following the 2012 season. The Secretary of State's office continued its investigation into the improper benefits after the NCAA penalties, and five people — including Watson — were indicted in September 2013.