CHAPEL HILL — UNC coach Butch Davis told his players before practice on Thursday to deactivate their Twitter accounts. UNC had more than 25 football players with accounts on the social media site before the season started.
Some of the most active Tar Heels players using the microblogging service have been suspended or dismissed from the team over the course of the ongoing NCAA investigation into the program.
Among them, Marvin Austin, Greg Little, Michael McAdoo and Kendric Burney posted pictures and information about vacations and shopping trips that have drawn the scrutiny of NCAA investigators.
Austin and Little have been dismissed from the team, Burney is serving a six-game suspension, and McAdoo's status has not been determined, but he has not played in the first five games.
Austin and Little, who tweeted about trips to Miami and Washington, D.C., shut down their accounts shortly after UNC announced the beginning of the NCAA investigation on July 15.
Davis had said in July there would be no changes to the school's social media policies.
An explicit picture posted by suspended fullback Devon Ramsay on his account earlier this week and an inappropriate comment by defensive lineman Quinton Coples led to the new team policy, team spokesman Kevin Best said.
Sturdivant closer to return: Injured UNC linebacker Quan Sturdivant is closer to getting back on the field but still not 100 percent, Davis said Thursday.
Sturdivant has missed the past two games with an injured left hamstring. He suffered the injury early in the fourth quarter of UNC's 17-13 win at Rutgers on Sept. 25 and hasn't played since.
Sturdivant has been limited in practice in the past three weeks but will travel to Charlottesville, Va., for UNC's game against Virginia on Saturday, Davis said.
"He is a little bit closer," Davis said. "It will still be a game-time decision. He's not 100 percent, we're still a couple of days away, [so] we'll see."
Sturdivant ranks third on the team in tackles (27) despite playing in only three games. The All-ACC outside linebacker has been replaced in the lineup by Zach Brown, who leads UNC with 28 tackles.
Quinn apologizes: Defensive end Robert Quinn, who was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits and violating the ethical conduct policy on Monday, issued an apology through the school on Thursday.
In a statement released by the school, Quinn said:
"I first would like to say how thankful I am to God for being able to attend the University of North Carolina. I want to thank the coaching staff for recruiting me and giving me the opportunity to come to such a prestigious university despite the fact that I was suffering from a brain tumor.
"I want to thank my teammates for making the time I had on the football field some of the best times in my life. I also want to thank them for their friendship and willingness to stand by me through my growth as a person.
"It is with that in mind that I want to convey my sincere apologies to both my teammates and my coaches for bringing this burden upon them.
"Even though this unfortunate situation is a tough time in my life, it is something I will be able to overcome. Having a brain tumor has truly been the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my life. I was told at one point that I would be brain dead and unable to play sports ever again. Having to deal with something of that magnitude has allowed me to put this situation in its proper perspective, accept it and learn from it.
"I'm very thankful to all my supporters who have encouraged and prayed for me throughout this entire process. I appreciate the University of North Carolina for keeping the door open for me to receive a college education.
"It has made dealing with these circumstances easier knowing that there are people who can see past my mistakes and still view me as a good person. While I have this time away from football I will do my best to continue to give back to the community in a positive manner.
"I wish my team good luck for the rest of this season, and I want them to know that I am and always will be a Tar Heel at heart."
Nix may miss game: UNC's depleted defensive line might have to go without defensive tackle Jordan Nix.
Nix injured his left elbow at the end of the second quarter of UNC's win over Clemson last Saturday. He did not play in the second half against the Tigers and is listed as doubtful for Saturday's game at Virginia.
UNC had already lost stars Robert Quinn (DE) and Marvin Austin (DT) to NCAA suspensions and defensive tackle Greg Elleby to a knee injury.
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