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February 25, 2011

Saunders says he lied to NCAA


Weslye Saunders is back in Indy for the second time in five months.

The former South Carolina tight end hopes this week's trip is better than the last one.

Saunders tried unsuccessfully in October to be reinstated by the NCAA, which suspended him for the 2010 season for lying to investigators who were probing agent-related activity at North Carolina.

Saunders said he was trying to protect his friend, Tar Heels defensive tackle Marvin Austin, who was at the center of the UNC probe and was later kicked off the team. Saunders said he took trips last year with Austin to Atlanta and Washington, D.C., Austin's hometown.

Saunders said a friend paid for his trip to D.C. He later mentioned accepting gifts from a Columbia friend whom the NCAA classified as a runner for an agent.

Saunders said NCAA officials told him he likely would have been suspended for a game or two had he been honest in his first two meetings with investigators, which Saunders compared to a murder investigation.

During a four-hour session on a hot August day, Saunders said investigators “pretty much put two recorders in my face and started drilling me with questions.”

Added Saunders: “They didn't feel I'd given as much information as I possibly could have and that I withheld information trying to protect myself and my friends at UNC.”

Saunders, who caught 32 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns in 2009, said he paid for his October trip to Indianapolis to lobby for reinstatement. He said he did not feel like he had the support of athletics director Eric Hyman or the school's administration.

He pretty much said I was the cause of the whole university being investigated, other athletes. It basically started around me,” Saunders said Friday.

And at the end of the day, I don't want to say I was the scapegoat. But it was me who caused all of that hoopla. So they were less inclined to let me back on the team as, say, another player.”

Saunders was considered one of the top tight end prospects before the 2010 season, but acknowledged his stock slipped while he sat out. He hopes a good showing here this week will help.

Saunders said he's heard from several teams, including the Panthers, who are looking for a pass-catching tight end for coordinator Rob Chudzinski's offense.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2011 at 03:18 PM | Permalink


So many people make the mistake of lying and making it worse on themselves. As an auditor myself, I can't stand to be lied to...makes me want to prosecute even more. Just tell the truth...everyone appreciates that and you'll come out better in the long run.

Posted by: The truth | Feb 25, 2011 4:20:52 PM

ZZZZZZZZZZ And this matters how?

Posted by: BarelyCareAnymore | Feb 25, 2011 5:32:21 PM

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