ESPN’s rundown of the step-by-step process of how the FBI investigation came about linked a key player in that scandal to bribes at North Carolina.
It was Louis Martin "Marty" Blazer III that seems to have sparked the entire investigation by giving money to former UNC football player Christopher Hawkins to secure the commitment of linebacker Robert Quinn, who did go on to play for UNC. Hawkins was investigated in state court and Blazer was implicated.
It’s not clear if there is a direct line to the FBI investigation of Blazer following his UNC involvement, but it is known that after the bribery at UNC, he was soon investigated, indicted and became a cooperating witness for the FBI in their investigation.
In 2015, Blazer was also linked to an investigation of improper cash payments to University of North Carolina football players. A grand jury indicted former Tar Heels player Christopher Hawkins for violating the state's sports agent law by giving money to a UNC player and illegally contacting another about signing a contract. During the investigation, former UNC linebacker Robert Quinn told state investigators that Hawkins gave Quinn money to steer him to Blazer and agent Peter Schaffer, according to court documents. Kendric Burney, the other former UNC player, told investigators that Hawkins arranged and attended Burney's meetings with Blazer and Schaffer. - Mark Schlabach - ESPN Senior Writer
North Carolina was not to become part of the FBI investigation but events there pretty clearly led to that investigation. Yet, UNC is being totally left out of the story by almost all media outlets.
Quinn and two other former Tar Heels were ruled ineligible in 2010 for receiving improper benefits. That became the became the first prong in the long-running athletics and academic fraud scandal at UNC.
This scandal may involve many schools before it’s over. The FBI implied as much in their statements. Possibly FBI officials decided to leave out important elements so they may be released later. That would give the FBI extended press coverage of the scandal.
Does the NCAA investigation into the UNC scandal include these elements? That question is not easily answered. Was this the event that triggered the FBI investigation? ESPN seems to be making that connection.