UNC Tar Heels Football: Suspended, Ineligible Players Decimate Team

Cliff PotterCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2010

BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 29:  North Carolina Tar Heels Head Coach Butch Davis watches the action in the second half against the Virginia Tech University Hokies during the game at Lane Stadium on October 29, 2009 in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The Tar Heels won the game 20-17. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The impact of the current investigations on the UNC Tar Heels football team is finally in front of Head Coach Butch Davis. As the press searched for players and made their findings, fourteen players remain in limbo with one more suspended indefinitely.

This was not the year Davis had planned. Having UNC go from being ranked to unranked after a lopsided loss to LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game was certainly not what ABC thought it would get when it scheduled this game. UNC and ABC could be big losers after the first quarter of the game, given the players who are now ineligible to play.

Keeping his game face on, Davis repeated that "there is no single game more important than the character and integrity of this University."

Dick Baddour's prepared statement reported as follows:

"We’re obviously very disappointed to learn that the actions of a number of our student-athletes have resulted in their being unable to compete in Saturday’s game.It is important to note again that people should not make assumptions as to the nature of each student-athlete’s involvement with these issues.

“We are still working with the NCAA staff to resolve these eligibility issues. The NCAA is focusing on each of their situations on a case-by-case basis. Together we are working to determine their status in as thorough and fair a process as is possible."

The sad situation is now set in concrete. Those who have not traveled with the team apparently included the following: defensive tackle Marvin Austin, cornerback Charles Brown, cornerback Kendric Burney, wide receiver Greg Little, defensive end Michael McAdoo, defensive end Robert Quinn, tailbacks Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston, defensive end Linwan Euwell, and safeties Brian Gupton, Da’Norris Searcy, and Jonathan Smith.

Just looking at this list will make every LSU fan smile and every UNC fan shudder. While many were known, the inclusion of Ryan Houston, who was having a great pre-season, and Shaun Draughn means that the offense will have great difficulty moving the ball with the LSU defense able to concentrate on quarterback TJ Yates. And this could wreck the well laid plans for Yates to have a much better front line.

No line can hold if the running game, already lacking due to the loss of Gio Bernard for the season, is decimated like this unless someone has a career day this Saturday.

The NCAA has its hands full in addressing these and other problems, including those facing the University of Michigan and others who are under review due to possible inappropriate agent contacts. It is therefore unlikely that the NCAA will get to the status of all these players before year-end.

And that is The Real Truth.