Documents detail how Hawkins gave illegal benefits to UNC players

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Newly unsealed documents in the case of a former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law suggest he funneled money to multiple Tar Heels players and set up meetings with agents and financial advisers trying to sign them to contracts.

Christopher Hawkins was arrested in May for providing former player Robert Quinn thousands of dollars and helping him sell game-used equipment in 2010, along with improperly contacting a UNC player in 2013 to talk about representation.

According to five search warrants unsealed Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press, Hawkins acted as “an agent/runner” by befriending other athletes, providing illegal improper benefits and brokering meetings with agents and advisers despite not being registered as required by law.

The search warrants from the past year sought records for financial and online accounts for the former UNC and Marshall player in a 5-year-old secretary of state’s investigation, which began amid a 2010 NCAA probe into UNC’s football program. Hawkins was barred from school athletes and facilities that year and is one of five charged.

Fourteen Tar Heels missed at least one game in 2010 and seven were forced to sit all season in a case that led to NCAA sanctions in March 2012.

Both probes focused largely on former players Quinn, Marvin Austin and Greg Little. But roughly 75 pages of unsealed documents include other examples, including ex-player Kendric Burney telling investigators in October 2013 that he received monthly payments from Hawkins while an eligible athlete.

Burney, who missed six games in 2010 for improper benefits from Hawkins connected to trips, said Hawkins paid him and other players for agent meetings, the documents state.

Burney said Hawkins arranged and attended his meetings with financial adviser Marty Blazer and agent Peter Schaffer — two people who exchanged hundreds of calls with Hawkins, according to phone records cited in the warrants.

Burney, now Schaffer’s client, said Sunday that he didn’t know exactly how much money Hawkins gave him.

“He was just helping me at that point find a good agent,” Burney said. “Now as far as all the money situation, we never, never knew who it was coming from and never did I ever say, ‘Hey, let’s go get money from this agent.'”

Burney said Schaffer never provided improper benefits, saying the agent “always was by the book with me.”

Schaffer said he didn’t provide improper benefits to any UNC players. He said Hawkins spoke to him about Burney but that most communication would have been about former UNC and NFL running back Willie Parker, a client who called Hawkins his “manager.”

Schaffer represents Austin and Little, both of whom previously hired other agents.

“Come out to my office. You can look through my bank records, and you will not see one check wired, cash, anything to Marty Blazer, to Chris Hawkins, to Kendric Burney, to anybody,” Schaffer said. “Because it doesn’t happen.”

Blazer, Hawkins and Hawkins’ attorney Natasha Adams didn’t return emails Saturday from the AP.