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Wichard suspended for 9 months by union

WASHINGTON (AP) -Longtime agent Gary Wichard was suspended by the NFL Players Association on Friday for nine months for his role in a recruiting scandal involving the University of North Carolina.

The union also is revoking the agent certification of Southern California undergrad Teague Egan, who gave a ride across campus to tailback Dillon Baxter, a violation of NCAA rules. Union spokesman George Atallah said a review of Egan's qualifications showed he ``is not fit to be a certified contract advisor.''

Wichard, an agent since 1980, was suspended for his involvement with Marvin Austin, a former Tar Heels player who was dismissed from the team in October. Among his NFL clients are Dwight Freeney, Jason Taylor, Antonio Cromartie, Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs and Darren Sproles.

The union said Wichard agreed to the nine-month suspension and waived his right to appeal. Wichard did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment.

Earlier this season, the NCAA investigated the longtime friendship between former Tar Heels assistant coach John Blake, who resigned in September, and Wichard. Attorneys for both men said Wichard loaned money to Blake, though they denied there was any agreement for Blake to steer players to Wichard when they went to the NFL.

In its ruling, the NFLPA said the California-based Wichard is suspended beginning Dec. 1, ``for having impermissible communication with University of North Carolina player Marvin Austin at a time Austin was not eligible for the NFL draft under the NFL/NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement.''

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