New records from UNC name three people who provided illegal benefits to football players, including a representative from one of the nation’s largest sports agencies.
The individuals — Chris Hawkins, Michael Katz and Todd Stewart — are named in five reinstatement letters the University submitted to the NCAA. The letters give new insight into the extent to which UNC players violated rules prohibiting gifts and monetary benefits.
The records were provided to The Daily Tar Heel after several weeks of requests. UNC previously said it would not release the names of the agents, citing a federal student privacy law.
The reinstatement letters are heavily redacted to protect the student-athletes’ identities. They do not include dates indicating when they were sent to the NCAA, and, in some cases, nearly entire pages are redacted.
The most-mentioned figure in the reinstatement letters is Hawkins, a former UNC player from 2001-03. Hawkins was dismissed from the team his senior year, but lives in Durham at another former player’s home.
Hawkins is mentioned in three of the five letters, which describe friendly relations with players that began before their freshman years. He was introduced as a “good guy” who would look out for the players, the letters say.
UNC believes Hawkins provided benefits, set up meetings between players, financial advisers and agents, offered to purchase gear from players and told agents that he represented some UNC players, according to an Oct. 4 letter from athletic director Dick Baddour.
The Oct. 4 letter to Hawkins bans him from UNC athletic facilities and instructs him to cease all contact with current or potential student-athletes for a minimum of five years.
Two of the letters reference Michael Katz as providing wristbands for admittance to a pool party. Katz works as director of marketing and client services for Rosenhaus Sports, a Miami Beach-based agency that represents a number of high-profile NFL clients.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Drew Rosenhaus denied Katz provided benefits to players and said the report was “false.”
The last person referenced in the letters is Todd Stewart, who is said to have booked and paid for hotel rooms for a player. UNC says Stewart qualifies as a prospective agent and has ties to a financial advising firm.
In addition to Hawkins, Katz and Stewart, the letters reference several unnamed financial advisers who paid for four dinners at local restaurants. The player said he was not aware rules prohibited receiving benefits from financial advisers.
Reports of players receiving illegal benefits from agents surfaced in the summer. Since then, the University has uncovered instances of academic misconduct as well. In all, 14 players have been held out from games.
Marvin Austin, Kendric Burney, Greg Little, Robert Quinn and Deunta Williams all received benefits from people classified as agents or financial advisers, UNC officials have said previously.
Austin was dismissed from the team, and the University did not ask the NCAA for his reinstatement. Burney and Williams had to sit out six and four games, respectively, and repay some of the benefits they received. Little and Quinn were declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA.
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