North Carolina will be without its top two returning defensive ends for four games each this season, and 11 more will miss out on games due to NCAA violations resulting from the sale of team shoes by players.
Tar Heels top defensive lineman Malik Carney and runner-up Tomon Fox were among nine players to serve a four-game suspension. The others who will be missing from four games are: sophomore Chazz Surratt, who claimed to be the UNC starting quarterback; redshirt first-year offensive lineman Brian Anderson; second-year wide receiver Beau Corrales; second-year defensive end Tyrone Hopper; redshirt offensive lineman Quiron Johnson; second-year linebacker Malik Robinson; and first-year redshirt offensive lineman Jordan Tucker.
Second-year cornerback Greg Ross and second-year cornerback Tre Shaw were suspended for two games, while first-year quarterback Jack Davidson and red-shirted first-year offensive lineman Jonah Melton got one game penalty.
“I am certainly upset by the actions of our players and the way their choices reflect on them, our program and the University,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said in a statement released by the school on Monday. afternoon. “These young men knew the rules and are held accountable for the bad choices they made. Accountability is an important fundamental principle in this program. We will learn from this and aim to do better in the future.”
According to the NCAA case summary acquired by The Associated Press, special edition Nike sneakers called the Retro Air Jordan 3 were released to UNC players and coaches on January 11. Fifteen players then sold the shoes for money to business entities or teammates. They received cash payments ranging from $ 150 to $ 2,500 for the sneakers between January 11 and 13. Two players did not receive the NCAA threshold in terms of dollar amount, so they weren’t penalized.
UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham was alerted to the situation in an email on Jan. 12 from a self-proclaimed Greensboro fan who saw the shoes for sale online, NCAA documents show. The next day, the university asked all players and staff to return the sneakers to the football equipment staff. The school has recovered all but nine pairs, according to Cunningham.
The situation was reported by the UNC to the NCAA, which determined it to be Secondary III violations.
“We have really high expectations for our student-athletes,” Cunningham said Monday afternoon at a press conference. “In this case, we are disappointed.
“We will continue to strive to improve. We need to improve in many ways. But we certainly made a mistake and we have to suffer the consequences. ”
The aftermath could have a negative effect on a Tar Heel team trying to bounce back from a 3-9 in 2017. With multiple missing players playing the same position, the NCAA has approved UNC’s request to stagger. some of the suspensions due to health. and security reasons.
As such, Carney will not participate in non-conference games against East Carolina and Central Florida, as well as Atlantic Coast Conference games against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Fox will miss the ACC games against Miami, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech. All other suspensions will begin with the season opener in California on September 1.
Players affected by the penalties will be permitted to train, attend meetings, and continue strength and conditioning training while serving their suspension.
Editor-in-chief Sammy Batten can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3534.