The Charlotte Observer got its hands on the phone records of former UNC assistant John Blake and found he spent a significant amount of time in contact with Marvin Austin, calling into question what he knew about Austin's eligibility issues. Austin was suspended for the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits, including training and accommodations from an agency in California.
Phone records showed Blake was in contact with Austin and teammate Cam Thomas while they were in training in California with former UNC player Kentwan Balmer. Blake was also in contact with Austin when the NCAA was on campus and made contact with Gary Wichard, an agent named in the investigation.
Though the phone calls indicate Blake was in contact with Austin and Thomas while they were in California, it's unclear whether he knew where they were at the time. As the Charlotte Observer reports, it's an important detail in the investigation.
Although it is unclear whether Blake knew the players were training in California with former North Carolina teammate Kentwan Balmer, the phone records indicate that Blake and Austin were in contact while Austin was there. If Blake or anyone else at UNC had learned the players were with Balmer in California, it would have been necessary to have North Carolina's compliance office investigate whether the trip was permissible before the 2009 season.
The Tar Heels received a notice of inquiry on June 7. The university is dealing with a variety of charges regarding players' ties to agencies while enrolled in school.
For more on the Tar Heels, head over to Carolina March.