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Big, Big Trouble for North Carolina?

The early news on the NCAA investigation of the North Carolina football program sounded bad enough as it was, but apparently things may very well be far worse for the Tarheels than originally believed. According to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, this isn't just some random kicking of the tires by the NCAA:

The UNC/agent situation sounding very serious. I'm told NCAA has spent months compiling evidence.

For North Carolina, this has to be some very scary stuff. Aside from the fact that these players could lose eligibility and seriously hinder their on-field product in 2010, the more concerning fact of the matter is that past history has shown at times the NCAA effectively arrives on campus with a conclusion in mind and then seemingly work backward in search of evidence to support that conclusion. If the NCAA has already spent months compiling evidence, well, that sounds like they may very well have a conclusion in mind.

Furthermore, sports agent Darren Heitner expounds upon the story even more at the Sports Agent Blog:

So when Joe Schad tells the world that there is a serious NCAA investigation taking place at UNC, sports agents who may be affected should begin to contact their attorneys.  Schad notes that Defensive tackle Marvin Austin was a football player who was interviewed.  I have a source who tells me that Austin was only 1 of 13 players who have been interviewed – this is far reaching.  And it does not only extend to a number of players.  The same source tells me that there are a lot of agents that may have dirty hands, including both NFLPA Certified Advisors and marketing agents.  Some are being examined more than others.

It is apparently beyond just in-person meetings, rent payments, and travel expenses.  We are potentially talking about all expenses paid trips to South Beach, exorbitant amounts of money dropped on accessories, and there are rumors of players driving around in Bentleys.

Whoa. Shocking stuff. Maybe those claims aren't accurate, but at this point I think it's pretty clear that if even a fraction of these initial reports surrounding this investigation are remotely true, the Tarheels are probably in major trouble.