UNC Football: More Drama with Marvin Austin's Suspension

Cliff PotterCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Marvin Austin #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches on against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

UNC Tar Heel star football player Marvin Austin has a problem.

He has been suspended.

And this has nothing to do with the ongoing NCAA and UNC investigations into improper agent contacts and academic assistance. 

In announcing the suspension, Coach Butch Davis explicitly noted that this suspension was for something Austin had done in violation of team rules.

"This decision is not a result of the ongoing NCAA review," Davis said in a brief statement issued by the school. "Marvin has violated team rules and has neglected his responsibilities to the team."

Suspended from the UNC Tar Heels football team for failing to abide by team rules, the gregarious Austin could face far more trouble down the road. But this infraction adds to his problems in the most important year of his college football career.

What happens next is anyone's guess.

But from all indications, Austin may not play another down in college.

If so, this would be the worst tragedy that has occurred to a healthy UNC football player in the history of the University.

If this all plays out the way it appears, Austin, a likely first rounder, could lose millions.

Whatever the outcome, the suspension could not have come at a worst time for Austin. He was already unlikely to play because of the NCAA's investigation. 

The NCAA made two trips to Chapel Hill this summer to look into whether Austin and receiver Greg Little received improper benefits from agents. Wednesday's announcement did not address Little's status. Both players had been working with the second team for much of training camp and haven't spoken with reporters.

This new problem now brings his discipline, integrity and team play into focus.

In a fascinating twist, South Carolina Gamecocks football player Weslye Saunders, another player also involved in the NCAA agent investigation has also been suspended by the Gamecocks.

And Coach Steve Spurrier, as if echoing Davis, provided the same explanation: this does not involve the NCAA investigation.

Were these two involved together in some violations of both teams' rules?

Neither Austin or Saunders will dress or travel as long as the suspensions are in effect. Austin will likely have far more impact on the play of the Tar Heels. However, he has not been practicing with the starters on defense.

Another twist in this already twisted season begins to tie UNC football into knots.

Could this get worse? No doubt.

And this is The Real Truth.

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