An NCAA investigator interviewed North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples this week about his attendance at a Washington, D.C., post-draft party earlier this month at which former Tar Heels Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn were present, sources said.
Coples, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, had 15½ tackles for loss as a junior, including 10 sacks, and is rated as the No. 2 draft-eligible player in the nation by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.
Photographs of Coples with Austin and Quinn that appeared on Facebook and the web site EliteDCMag.com prompted the inquiry. The party is labeled as taking place at "Ultrabar" nightclub. Also seen in photos with players is at least one alleged runner the NCAA has investigated.
Before the NFL draft, the NCAA warned some prospective draft choices not to allow any former teammates to accept extra benefits or preferential treatment from anyone such as an agent or a runner. The letter read in part: "Please do not jeopardize the NCAA eligibility of your friends or former teammates."
The NCAA wants to know how Coples paid for his travel to the party, who paid for his admission and his hotel, and if he accepted any free food or drink.
Austin missed all of last season after being dismissed by the Tar Heels for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules. The NCAA also ruled Quinn and wide receiver Greg Little permanently ineligible for the same violations.
North Carolina opened last season without 13 players, including many stars, because of a still-unresolved NCAA investigation that includes a look into both agent extra benefits and also allegations of academic misconduct.
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.