Former North Carolina player Chris Hawkins, who has admitted to buying UGA wide receier A.J. Green’s game jersey, said today during an interview on Atlanta’s 790 The Zone that the NCAA first connected him to Green while looking into player trips to Miami.
A.J. Green remains ineligible for Georgia's next two games, pending UGA's appeal to the NCAA.
Labeling Hawkins as “an individual who meets the definition of an agent,” the NCAA handed down a ruling last week for Green to miss Georgia’s first four games. The school has submitted an appeal to possibly restore Green’s eligibility for Saturday’s Arkansas game or the following week’s contest at Mississippi State.
Hawkins argues that he doesn’t understand the NCAA linking him to agents.
“The NCAA thinks I'm an agent,” Hawkins told 790’s “Mayhem in the AM” program, “which I'm not. I'm not an agent. I've never worked for an agent. I've never been paid by one. I'm just simply a kid. Like everybody else, I like A.J.'s game. ... I just wanted his jersey. I talked to him about it and bought the jersey and didn't really think that much of it until he started getting investigated.”
Per various reports, Hawkins has been connected to the ongoing NCAA investigation at North Carolina. Hawkins said he has a “305” (Miami) area code, which was likely spotted on Green’s phone records.
“I think they kind of thought I had something to do with whole Miami trip going on down there,” Hawkins said. “They kind of went at him hard for that, and then I guess he just let them know he how knew me. I think he was totally honest with them, when I talked to him. He told them I bought the jersey from him and all that.”
Sources close to Green have said the player was not in Miami on Memorial Day weekend, which is the alleged time of one of the agent-related parties, and can prove he was at home in South Carolina at the time.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said this afternoon, “I don’t know anything more on A.J.,” or when the teleconference appeal would take place.
Meanwhile, Hawkins said “nobody’s contacted me” about UGA’s pending appeal, “I would do anything I could do to try to help.”
“I don’t think it was right,” Hawkins said.
Asked by 790 if he knew he was violating NCAA rules with the purchase of Green’s Independence bowl jersey, Hawkins replied, “To be honest, I can't say I wouldn't have thought that it was illegal. It was more than I really wasn't thinking it was that big of a deal.”
Hawkins said Green’s jersey remained framed in his basement and he recently provided proof with a picture sent to ESPN.com.
Since word got out late last week that Hawkins was the individual responsible for Green’s jersey purchase, Hawkins said he has received “a lot of Facebook messages,” and “a lot of Facebook threats” from angry fans.
“There’s been a lot of heat coming my way,” Hawkins said.