Two UNC players suspended

UNC defensive backs Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams must miss competition and repay benefits as a condition of becoming eligible to play again, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Burney, who received $1,333 in benefits, must miss six games and repay $575.19 to a charity of his choice. Williams, who received $1,426 in benefits, must miss four games and repay $450.67 to a charity of his choice. Both players have already missed two games.

“We plan to appeal the length of the suspensions,” UNC AD Dick Baddour said in a prepared statement. “While I respect the NCAA process, I believe the penalties to be unduly harsh given the individual circumstances in these cases.”

From the release:

The university declared both players ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits and preferential treatment rules. According to the facts of the case submitted by the university, these benefits in part included trips to California, Atlanta and Las Vegas for Burney and two trips to California for Williams. The majority of the benefits Burney received were from an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent. According to NCAA rules, an agent is any individual who markets or promotes a student-athlete. The majority of Williams’ benefits were preferential treatment violations associated with visiting a former North Carolina football student-athlete.

When a school discovers a student-athlete has been involved in an NCAA rules violation, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete’s eligibility be reinstated to the NCAA national office staff for consideration. Reinstatement decisions are made independently of any NCAA enforcement process.

During the reinstatement process, NCAA staff review each case on its own merits based on the specific facts. Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors including guidelines established by the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, the student-athlete’s responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.

The university can appeal the decision to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent panel comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot increase the staff-imposed conditions. If appealed, the student-athlete remains ineligible until the conclusion of the appeals process.

Two quick thoughts on this:

  • It's not over. North Carolina was missing 12 players last weekend against Georgia Tech, not two, so there are still a lot of unresolved issues.

  • Trips to California, Atlanta and Las Vegas? Really? What were they thinking? And nobody knew about it? I'd be surprised if Burney and Williams are the only ones who will be held accountable when this is finally over.