When we last left you, DT Marvin Austin had officially been suspended for violation of team rules. This morning, that list may have bloated into over a dozen more players, as ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting that as many as 16 players could be suspended for the LSU game:
The suspension marks the latest twist during a turbulent summer for North Carolina, which is preparing to play against LSU on Saturday without up to 16 players, sources said Wednesday night.
Among the players in danger of not traveling with North Carolina Friday are: Austin, Quinn, linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant and cornerbacks Kendric Burney and Charles Brown.
A source said North Carolina may also be depleted at running back on Saturday. The top two running backs for the Tar Heels following spring practice were Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston. Wide receiver Greg Little has also been questioned about his trips, agents and papers.
Oh, sweet mercy. Here’s hoping Schad is setting that number a little high, or Casey Barth may get to fulfill that life-long dream of playing running back in an actual college game. We had heard Houston was possibly having some academic issues after being held out of spring practice but he and Draughn are the newest names to be involved in this list.
However, the news above does clash slightly with the other news coming out of last night’s cycle, as Robbi Pickeral of the N&O reported that Dick Baddour was saying some players had been exonorated:
He said the school has been able to clear some football players of wrong-doing, although he would not say how many, again because the investigation is ongoing. He also said that when the school announces who won’t make the Friday trip to Atlanta, it won’t mention the names of the players who have been exonerated.
“We would only mention names of people who were not on the roster,” Baddour said. “We would not mention names of people who had been in review on one side or the other, or cleared. We would only be talking about people who were not going to participate.”
He (Baddour) cautioned that when the school does announce who is – and is not – traveling to this weekend’s game, people should understand that the list “may be fluid. There may be some alterations after we say that, but we’ve got to work towards that. We’re just hoping that we can hold on and be in a position. We want to be able to give the most up-to-date and accurate information, and it’s worth waiting a little longer to do that.”
So, basically, UNC is dragging this on as long as humanly possible, even to the point where we may not even know who is involved or suspended when the travel list for Atlanta is released on Friday morning at 9:30 AM. Here’s hoping the news is better than expected, especially when, for example, Robert Quinn has even said publicly that he isn’t involved in the investigation but was one of the players cited in Schad’s report.
We continue to employ the wait-and-see approach. If you’re looking for a little more reading in the meantime, Tar Heel Fan has some good thoughts on the two prongs of the investigation and how communication has differed between the two (scroll to bottom of post).