The person who paid Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green $1,000 for his Independence Bowl jersey is a former North Carolina football player whom the NCAA considers an agent, ESPN.com reported Thursday night.
Chris Hawkins identified himself in Facebook messages to Green as a financial advisor and memorabilia collector, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.
The report quoted Hawkins as saying: “I didn’t come at A.J. like a marketer or an agent. I’m not an agent. I talked to him about ‘Good game this’ and ‘Good game that.’ I wanted the jersey because I collect jerseys.”
Green was suspended for four games by the NCAA on Wednesday for violation of the organization’s rule against accepting benefits from agents.
Georgia is appealing the decision to the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement in hopes of having the length of the suspension reduced. The appeal is expected to be considered next week. Green is not eligible to play during the appeal process.
Hawkins, a former North Carolina defensive back, is “at the center” of an NCAA investigation into alleged rules violations in the Tar Heels program, ESPN.com said. According to the report, a source said Hawkins contacted several sports agents about their interest in representing North Carolina players in the NFL draft.
The NCAA defines an agent as “any individual who markets or promotes a student-athlete.” According to the facts of the case submitted by Georgia to the NCAA, Green sold the jersey “to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent.”
It also would be against NCAA rules for a student-athlete to sell memorabilia to a non-agent.
“It’s in a frame in a basement right now,” Hawkins said of Green’s jersey, according to the report.