Greg Little Given More Than $20,000 from Agent While Attending North Carolina

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIISeptember 5, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09:  Wide receiver Greg Little #15 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little told investigators that he received more than $20,000 in cash and benefits from a Georgia-based sports agent during his senior year at the University of North Carolina.

Aaron Beard of the Associated Press reported the news on Thursday, and elaborated on what a recently unsealed search warrant revealed about agent Terry Watson:

[A]n agent with the Secretary of State's office said Little told investigators that Terry Watson of the Watson Sports Agency provided him with a monthly cash allowance of $2,200 in addition to travel expenses and other payments.

Little [...] also reimbursed former tutor Jennifer Wiley for expenses paid on his behalf with money received from Watson or a financial adviser, according to a probable cause affidavit in the June search warrant.

The AP contacted Watson for comment, but he didn't immediately respond.

After catching 62 passes for 724 yards and five touchdowns for the Tar Heels as a junior, the NCAA declared Little permanently ineligible in October 2010 for receiving improper benefits, per Beard.

The NCAA's investigation into the Tar Heels' program began in 2010, and it revealed that Little's tutor, Wiley, had played a role in academic-misconduct violations involving several UNC football players.

It wound up costing the university 15 scholarships over three years and a bowl ban in March 2012, along with probation.   

The investigation is officially closed, but the reason this development is coming to light is because the NCAA is still attempting to determine whether North Carolina state laws regulating sports agents were broken.

As Beard notes, the Uniform Athletes Agents Act requires agents to register with Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's office. The purpose of the legislation is to prevent players' agents from influencing young athletes to sign contracts before they're permitted to.

Violation of this law is a Class 1 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 15 months in prison and civil penalties that can amount to $25,000.

Little last met with investigators in January, hoping to put the controversy behind him.

This latest twist in the saga may finally bring closure to the situation, particularly since Little admitted to accepting the money and detailed his background with Wiley.

The 24-year-old is expected to build on his success in Cleveland this year in Norv Turner's offense. He's seen 212 targets with the Browns over the past two seasons, and with a formidable running game and another year under quarterback Brandon Weeden's belt, Little has room to continue growing.