Monday afternoon, a list of three-year-old felony charges were resolved when former NFL agent Terry Watson pleaded guilty to violating North Carolina’s sports agent law. An initial investigation was launched in 2010 by the office of the Secretary of State, following up on an NCAA probe into the UNC football program.
The investigation lasted three years and resulted in Watson being charged with 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement, having gifted prospective NFL players Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin and Grey Little with roughly $24,000 in cash and travel accommodations. North Carolina law prohibits agents from enticing college athletes to sign using money or gifts.
Watson eventually pleaded guilty to his charges after a long-time friend, Mitchell Jones, who was also charged with athlete-agent inducement in 2013 for aiding Watson in providing funds to Robert Quinn. Jones’ court bargain required him to acknowledge his role in the operation and to testify truthfully against Watson.
Watson was sentenced with 30 months’ probation and a $5,000 fine. Obstruction of justice charges brought against him for failing to provide certain records requested in the investigation were dismissed on condition of his plea. The secretary of state’s office was pleased to have a solid conclusion to the six-year investigative process.
In a statement to ESPN, NC secretary of state Elaine F. Marshall said, “Years ago, when this all began, people in the athlete agent industry scoffed at us for looking into these cases. They said, 'This is how it works and you can't change it.' But today, everyone in that business knows that when you come to North Carolina, you had better follow the law. And if you don't, we can and we will enforce the law.”