Search Warrant Isssued For Gary Wichard's Bank Records, Agent Ties To UNC Still Under Investigation

We've been following the story of the dual investigation on the part of the NCAA and the North Carolina Secretary of State's office into UNC athletics since last July, and while the scandal has largely gone cold since December, it's time to drag out your violation bingo cards again: A search warrant has been issued for bank records belonging to Gary Wichard, the NFL agent at the center of the investigation. Wichard has been serving a nine-month suspension handed down by the NFLPA since December, but it appears the party's not over for his lawyers.

As far back as September, it's been widely reported that Wichard and former UNC assistant coach John Blake had engaged in some sort of financial transactions. A fun reminder from our fall coverage of this story: "North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act makes it a felony punishable by up to 15 months in prison for agents to provide anything to athletes prior to agreeing to a contract." And CBS's Bryan Fischer points out how this story could quickly get worse, and not just for the Tar Heels: It's silly to imagine Blake was the only coach Wichard was in contact with, right? How many other major programs could be implicated here?

And what of the implicated players at North Carolina? It's a mixed bag of permanent ineligibility, reinstatement, and disappearing acts (more on these later), but the central figure, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, has done all right for himself since his November dismissal from the team.  Austin shone even in a rich class of defensive line talent at the 2011 NFL Combine, beating out both Nick Fairley and fellow Wichard target Marcell Dareus at the 40-yard dash. He's projected as an early-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

For more UNC athletics news and discussion, visit SB Nation's Carolina March.

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