The University of North Carolina suspended Jalek Felton, a freshman on the men’s basketball team, on Tuesday. The university is in the process of gathering information related to a misconduct case involving the freshman guard, Felton’s attorney said during a brief interview.
“It’s not a sanction, and he’s not being punished for something,” said Kerry Sutton, a Durham-based attorney who is representing Felton. “That’s just something the school does while they gather information, and that’s what we’re doing at this point, as well – we’re gathering information.”
Sutton represented another UNC athlete, football player Allen Artis, last year after a fellow UNC student publicly accused him of rape. Artis was not criminally charged in that case, and a university investigation later cleared him of wrongdoing. He rejoined the football team last fall.
Felton, the nephew of former UNC All-American Raymond Felton, cannot attended classes or participate in any team-related activities during the suspension.
Sutton declined to detail the allegations against Felton. An online search revealed no pending court dates for him, which indicates that he has not been charged with a crime. Sutton’s firm specializes, in part, in representing college athletes and students facing Title IX or sexual misconduct allegations.
Citing federal privacy laws, the university declined to provide details for the cause for Felton’s suspension. The freshman guard did not travel with the team to Clemson for Tuesday’s game and there is no timetable for his return.
It has been a disappointing season for Felton, whose uncle led the Tar Heels to the national title in 2005. The top recruit in UNC’s freshmen class out of West Columbia, S.C., Felton has averaged 2.9 points in 9.7 minutes per game.
UNC coach Roy Williams has often praised Felton’s talent, he was a top 30 recruit in the country, but has just as often been frustrated with Felton’s inconsist play.
Felton was expected to play a larger role this season. The 6-2 guard had 12 points in UNC’s win over Ohio State on Dec. 23 but he has not really been a factor in ACC play. He has not scored in five of UNC’s first nine ACC games. He had two points in 4 minutes in UNC’s 95-91 overtime loss to N.C. State on Saturday.
Ray Gronberg contributed.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio