Finally, after all the waiting it appears BusWatch 2010 has yielded the worst-case scenario everyone was dreading: six Carolina players have been ruled ineligible for the game against LSU this weekend, six more are being held out pending a conclusion of the investigation, and three more have their eligibility possibly in question. To the official press release!
The six ineligible student-athletes include: defensive tackle Marvin Austin, cornerback Charles Brown, cornerback Kendric Burney, wide receiver Greg Little, defensive end Michael McAdoo and defensive end Robert Quinn.
Six other student-athletes who will be withheld from Saturday’s game include: tailback Shaun Draughn, defensive end Linwan Euwell, safety Brian Gupton, tailback Ryan Houston, safety Da’Norris Searcy and safety Jonathan Smith.
The number of games that those 12 student-athletes may miss has not been determined at this time. The investigation continues to include both agent-related and academic issues.
The University also continues to work today with the NCAA to determine the eligibility status of three other student-athletes. Those three will not accompany the team to Atlanta on Friday morning. Further information will be announced when a decision on their status for the game is reached.
The big question when this information came out was who those last three mentioned are, and according to Robbi Pickeral at the N&O it appears to be Quan Sturdivant, Bruce Carter and Deunta Williams, which Joe Schad confirmed via twitter - so the Tar Heels could potentially get those three cleared and have them travel in time for the game tomorrow, but after today’s news I’m not holding my breath hoping anything good will happen.
To summarize: the Heels are probably going to be short 9 starters on defense (including 6 NFL-level players), its entire starting secondary, their number 1 wideout, and their top 2 runnng backs. So basically, as Schad points out, UNC is basically going to be fielding a “replacement team” against the Tigers on Saturday. Great. I know some people are saying Carolina could rally around this and really surprise someone, but all the gumption in the world can’t quite overcome the level of talent they’re missing on-field for this game against an SEC opponent in a dome that will probably only be featuring a few specks of blue in the crowd. I’m cheering for an upset to be sure, but I’m anticipating the worst at this point.
At this point, all we can do is laugh about it, because that’s a better alternative than crying: