ATLANTA — Twelve of the 13 North Carolina players who were either declared ineligible or withheld from Saturday's 30-24 loss to LSU are expected to continue practicing with the Tar Heels this week, a team spokesman said.
However, star defensive tackle Marvin Austin - suspended from both games and practice two days earlier for breaking team rules - will not.
"That's a [coach] Butch Davis decision," team spokesman Kevin Best said.
The Tar Heels remain embroiled in two investigations. The NCAA is probing whether football players at the school accepted inappropriate benefits from agents. Also, the school is looking into whether a former tutor, who was employed by both the school and Davis, committed academic misconduct by inappropriately helping football players with papers they were required to write for class.
Austin, who two sources confirm has been subpoenaed in Secretary of State Elaine Marshall's investigation of possible violations of North Carolina law involving sports agents, was suspended indefinitely Wednesday for breaking team rules and neglecting his responsibilities to the team. He has not practiced with the Tar Heels since.
Then on Friday, he was one of seven players who were declared ineligible for the season-opener at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff for violating NCAA and/or school rules. The others were cornerbacks Kendric Burney and Charles Brown, defensive ends Michael McAdoo and Robert Quinn, wide receiver Greg Little, and safety Deunta Williams.
Six additional Tar Heels were held out of the game, and did not make the trip with the team, as UNC officials continue to gather more information to determine whether they should be declared ineligible. They are: tailbacks Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston; safeties Brian Gupton, Da'Norris Searcy and Jonathan Smith; and defensive end Linwan Euwell.
At least half of the 13 players - including Austin, McAdoo, Brown, Quinn, Draughn and Gupton - attended Saturday's game in Atlanta.
The players were not allowed to travel with the team, and senior associate athletic director Larry Gallo told them that if they chose to attend the game on their own, they would have to pay their own travel and expenses. The school provided their tickets to the game, which is permissible for ineligible/withheld players under NCAA guidelines, Gallo said in an e-mail.
Asked, in the light of the ongoing investigations, whether those players would be asked to provide receipts, or proof of who paid for their trips, Best said he did not know.
The number of games the 13 might miss has not been determined. Athletic director Dick Baddour said Friday, "My hope would be that we would move along enough in the next week or 10 days or two weeks to have a better sense of what's involved with each case."
The Tar Heels don't play again until Sept. 18, against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill. They have an open date next weekend.
Carter, Sturdivant thrilled to play: Linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant, who were originally ruled ineligible for Saturday, said they learned at about 7 p.m. on Friday that they had been cleared to play.
"... I just couldn't wait to get there," Sturdivant said.
Baddour said before the game that he couldn't get into specifics, "but they were in a situation where we could seek a remedy for their situation, who was approved [by the NCAA]," he said. The two seniors are now "in the clear," Baddour said.
Proud of effort: Considering UNC trailed by as many as 20 points, Baddour said he was particularly proud of the Tar Heels' comeback Saturday night.
"I've certainly seen a lot of situations where I've been proud - some in loss, some in wins," Baddour said. "I've never been more proud of a group of young men, to respond with all the distractions, all the adversity then what we saw tonight. Not just prior to the game, but in the game. And as I said, I felt like they came into this game ready to play. Our fans showed a lot of heart, and our players responded to that."