Todd Amis, Austin’s former assistant coach at Ballou High in Washington, D.C., paid for Austin to travel to California in March 2009 and July 2009, the warrant states.
According to the warrant, Amis said he was reimbursed by Wichard for Austin’s March 2009 flight to California, where Austin trained at a facility called Pro Active Sports with former UNC teammate Kentwan Balmer.
Amis provided a canceled check from Pro Tect dated March 3, 2009 in the amount of $1,000, according to the warrant. The check was signed by Wichard.
Altour International Inc., a travel agency, also provided documentation showing that Pro Tect paid $915.40 for changes to Austin’s flights to and from California in March 2009, according to the warrant.
North Carolina law prohibits agents from furnishing anything of value to a student-athlete before the student-athlete enters into an agency contract.
The warrant also states that Wichard said he and Austin had several phone conversations, beginning with contact initiated by Wichard in January 2009. According to North Carolina law, an agent must be registered in the state to initiate contact with an athlete.
Wichard’s registration in North Carolina expired on Dec. 31, 1998 and has not been renewed, according to the warrant.
In December, the NFL Players Association suspended Wichard’s contract adviser status for nine months for having impermissible communications with Austin.
North Carolina dismissed Austin from the team for the 2010 season for receiving benefits that UNC athletic director Dick Baddour estimated at between $10,000 and $13,000. The warrant provides evidence that Austin received benefits before the 2009 season, when he played for the Tar Heels as a junior, that the NCAA could deem impermissible.
If the NCAA decides Austin played in 2009 while ineligible, it could cause North Carolina to vacate its wins from that season, when the Tar Heels went 8-5. Baddour said Wednesday that the warrant doesn’t necessarily establish that Austin was ineligible in 2009.
Baddour mentioned former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who was cleared by the NCAA last fall because it was ruled he was unaware that his father had solicited money from Mississippi State for Newton’s services.
“It may not change anything, because I don’t know what Marvin knew,” Baddour said. “And if Cam Newton didn’t know … it apparently connects Wichard with Marvin’s high school coach. Marvin has reported all along that his high school coach paid for it. So I don’t know what Marvin knew.”
Baddour said UNC will continue to cooperate in every way possible with the Secretary of State’s investigation.
UNC is awaiting word of possible penalties from the NCAA. Fourteen players were held out of at least one game, and seven missed the entire season in the NCAA’s investigation of impermissible benefits and academic misconduct.
While in California, Austin stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn with Balmer, Austin said in the warrant. Balmer is a client of Wichard’s and plays defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks.
Balmer paid for Austin’s training at Pro Active Sports, according to the warrant. In the past, Wichard clients such as Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen, Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller and Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Dwight Freeney have trained at the Pro Active facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif., according to the Pro Active website.
A second former UNC player, defensive tackle Cam Thomas of the San Diego Chargers, told The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer in August that he also traveled to California and that Balmer paid for the trip.
A violation of North Carolina’s uniform athlete agent act is a Class I felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of 15 months, according to Secretary of State spokesman George Jeter. A civil penalty of up to $25,000 can also be assessed.
“We are advancing in the investigation,” Jeter said.
Wichard’s lawyer, Howard Silber, declined to comment initially because he hadn’t seen the search warrant. Efforts to reach him after the warrant was e-mailed to him were unsuccessful.