Warrants say agent paid ex-Tar Heels

Investigators in North Carolina say a Georgia-based sports agent violated laws by sending cash payments and other benefits to former Tar Heels football players.


In search warrants unsealed Monday, investigators with the secretary of state’s office say Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency sent $2,000 in 2010 to Marvin Austin, who was dismissed from the team that year for receiving improper benefits.

They also say Watson had contact with players before registering with the state.

The office launched its inquiry in 2010 shortly after the start of an NCAA investigation at the school. The law prohibits agents from offering gifts before a contract is signed, and a violationcan lead to criminal or civil pen alties.

Watson didn’t immediately return a call to his Marietta, Ga.-based office.

A spokesman for Georgia’s secretary of state said Watson is not under investigation in that state.

AWARD: West Virginia’s Tavon Austin has been named the winner of the John­ny Rodgers Award as the top return specialist in college football in 2012.

Austin was second nationally in all-purpose yardage and averaged 12.7 yards on punt returns and 25.4 yards on kick returns. He returned one punt and one kick for touchdowns.

He is projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick as a receiver.