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Outside The Lines on Marvin Austin

ESPN’s Outside the Line program spotlighted former UNC player Marvin Austin and what he has been doing since he was dismissed from the Tar Heel program. The answer is stuff that would probably kill you and me. Austin is asked about the NCAA investigation and gives a variety of PR safe answers. At one point(at around the 5:18 mark) Austin is asked(very pointedly by ESPN’s Kelly Naqui) about what he was thinking while he was knowingly violating NCAA rules and whether UNC offered him illegal benefits during recruiting since Austin said that sort of thing went on. Let’s just say his denial could have been a little more heartfelt. The problem is there have been plenty of rumors surrounding how UNC was able to steal him away from Florida St. with John Blake’s reputation being batted around as primary reason why. Austin also says NFL teams did not express much concern of the NCAA issues which, again, stands in stark contrast to the report from Nolan Nawrocki highlighted by Doc last week.

Once again, Austin is saying most of the right things in public though this is the first time(to my knowledge) he has played the “everyone was doing it” card. Austin still takes full responsibility and even says UNC told him not to take anything unless it was from a family member.

Austin presents an interesting dilemma for UNC fans. On one hand, he could be major factor in how UNC is viewed by recruits. He is a popular player with a big personality and if he is a major contributor in the NFL, it obviously helps the program. Plus, I love watching Tar Heel do well in the NFL. On the flip side, he along with Greg Little and Robert Quinn are mostly responsible for six kinds of NCAA hell raining down on UNC which nearly torpedoed a football season and could yet damage the program further. Unlike Willie Parker, Austin will proudly wear his UNC affiliation on the next level which means, like it or not, he still represents UNC. For most fans it will come down to whether they view Austin as an arrogant, selfish person or a mostly good kid who made some really selfish choices. How he carries himself going forward will probably influence which side fans will ultimately take.

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8 comments to Outside The Lines on Marvin Austin

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Regarding Marvin’s impact on recruiting: having a 10 or 11 win season and no NCAA Investigation cloud hanging over the program would have helped recruiting a lot more then anything that Marvin eventually does in the NFL. Our chances of having a 10 or 11 win season went out the window after Marvin helped get the NCAA’s attention.

    Also, from now on anything special we accomplish in football (if we ever DO accomplish anything special in football…) will always be watered down by the “yeah, but that’s because you guys cheat” line that we’ll get from rival fans.

  • PRGuy

    I’m reserving judgment until I see some concrete action after he signs a multi-million-dollar NFL contract. Let’s see what his community involvement is with his new employers or what charities he supports. I also don’t know if he’s ever going to earn his degree, since I’m assuming he’s not attending class but working out instead. To help rehabilitate his image, I’d advise him to one day make a generous contribution to UNC — not the Ram’s Club but the University itself. Offhand I recall Michael Jordan and Harris Barton making generous donations to the School of Social Work just because they wanted to give back. Marvin, show us you are repentant through your actions rather than just words.

  • makeitWayne22

    All that money, and cant even get a victory over State… Most overrated player on the field, and most infamous player off…

  • scl11

    When you impact the program more off the field than on the field, then you have a lot of fences to mend when those off the field actions negatively impact a program. I’m with PRGuy, just because he says the right things now while he is trying to gain employment in the NFL is meaningless when compared to if he has a positive impact on the program and institution that he harmed 3-5 years from now.

  • rathskellar68

    I’m more in the makeitWayne22 camp. When you have a multi-zillion dollar contract, contributing several thousand to fashionable causes — with plenty of publicity (since it’s only about publicity) — does not strike me as impressive. Indeed it strikes me as cheap, manufactured and cynical.

    Instead of writing a check, let him do something hard a la’ Pat Tillman. Now THAT is walking the walk.

    And in other news…………I hear on the radio that Hansbrough’s hometown, Poplar Bluff, is getting hit real hard with a flood.

  • Andy In Omaha

    I could give a rat’s behind what any other school would say about us. Look at how many big name programs knowingly play players that have done something wrong, only to have the NCAA look the other way? Butch deserves criticism for underachieving, but I didn’t think he could have handled the situation any better by waiting until players were cleared before playing them.
    In terms of Austin, he’s REALLY hard to read. I don’t think he’ll go Willie Parker on us (even though I always heard Parker had a crappy attitude at UNC), but if he even gets drafted he’ll have a lot of work to do to repair his image.
    Every pundit I see has Robert Quinn going in the first round, and I saw once last week (so it could have changed) that Greg Little could go as early as in the second round. For some reason, Quinn and Little have escaped the scrutiny of Austin. Maybe the sincerity is a little easier to read in Quinn and Little, but I think it would be great to see them all do well in the NFL.

  • notoriousii

    I know I’ll probably have to eat crow, but I believe in second chances. Let us not forget, Austin may have been the unintentional whistle blower, but he was not the only one involved. I have not even heard artifical remorse shown by any other players in violation this year at UNC or any other institution. I knew the “everybody does it” statement was going to bite him though. BTW I think Austin is supposed to graduate. BD averages about an 80% graduation rate, without the Mack Brown football player track of courses I remember from undergrad. I know many ABCers will say this is because they cheat, but I am willing to wager that cheating is the exception not the rule. I had not intended on going to my graduation(just want my degree),but I may go to cheer my graduating Tar Heels one last time. Thanks for the shout out to SOWO PRGuy!

  • There’s been some talk that John Fox, Elway & the Bronocs like Marvin as a second round pick. Fox is probably more familiar with his story than most coaches. Can’t say I’d be disappointed if he showed up in a Denver uniform. Beggars can’t be too choosy.