Georgia-based football agent Terry Watson has been arrested and charged with violating N.C. Gen. Stat. 78C- 85-105, colloquially known as North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act (PDF available here). A grand jury in Orange County NC indicted the 39-year old head of Watson Sports Agency on 13 counts of athlete agent inducement and 1 count of obstruction of justice.
The alleged improprieties stem from Watson's 2010 interactions with 3 then-UNC, now-NFL players players Greg Little, Marvin Austin, and Robert Quinn. The State alleges Watson offered the former Tar Heels cash, airfare, lodging, and other benefits to induce them to sign an agency contract, which Section 78C-98 of the Act prohibits. ("An athlete agent, with intent to induce a student-athlete to enter into an agency contract, shall not: … (2) Furnish anything of value to a student-athlete before the student-athlete enters into an agency contract.") Watson was charged with obstruction of justice for refusing to provide financial records. If convicted, Watson faces probation or up to 15 months in prison, and civil fines up to $25,000 on the agent inducement charges, and up to 30 months on the obstruction charge.
Criminal prosecutions for violations of athlete-agent acts are exceedingly rare. More often, states fine agents for violations or simply ignore many improprieties. Perhaps this case will serve as a deterrent to agents seeking to gain illegal advantages in a highly competitive industry, which in turn will protect young and vulnerable student-athletes.
Story courtesy of The Herald Sun.
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