Thomas: Extra benefits provided by Balmer at North Carolina
San Diego Chargers rookie defensive tackle Cam Thomas said Tuesday that former North Carolina teammate Kentwan Balmer paid for himself and Marvin Austin to travel to California in the summer of 2009.
Thomas, who started all 13 games for the Tar Heels in ‘09, said he and Austin took the trip together and “Twan paid for [the trip].” He did not provide financial details or specific dates, but said he and Austin worked out at the Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, Calif. in the summer before the ‘09 season. The Chargers' fifth-round pick declined to further comment.
Balmer, Thomas and Austin were teammates during the ‘07 season and each played defensive tackle. John Blake, who was their position coach and is also UNC's recruiting coordinator and associate head coach, is being investigated along with Austin for his relationship with California-based agent Gary Wichard.
The NCAA returned to Chapel Hill on Aug. 4 after making initial visits on July 12 and July 13 to interview an undisclosed number of players, including Austin, about receiving improper benefits from an agent.
Possible punishments for the extra benefits include the forfeiture of games Austin and Thomas participated in during the ‘09 season, which would be the entire season. The Tar Heels went 8-5 last year.
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