Thirteen North Carolina football players, including quarterback Chazz Surratt, will be suspended at least one game for selling team-issued Nike shoes, the school announced Monday. The suspensions, which range from one to four games, will be staggered for certain players “to protect the health and safety of the students,” the school said. North Carolina self-reported the NCAA secondary violation; it had previously acknowledged that some players sold the shoes but hadn’t named the players or the punishment.
Surratt, a sophomore who was in contention for the starting quarterback job, was suspended four games, which should mean Nathan Elliott will start North Carolina’s season opener against California on Sept. 1. Surratt started seven games last season before being sidelined by an injury. Elliott, now a junior, started the team’s final three games, and the two quarterbacks had been in a battle this summer for the starting job.
Offensive linemen Brian Anderson, Quiron Johnson and Jordan Tucker; defensive ends Malik Carney, Tomon Fox and Tyrone Hopper; wide receiver Beau Corrales and linebacker Malik Robinson were all suspended four games. Defensive backs Greg Ross and Tre Shaw received two-game suspensions, and quarterback Jack Davidson and offensive lineman Jonah Melton were suspended a game apiece.
The players sold the shoes in January “for as much $2,500 in cash,” the News & Observer reported, citing emails obtained in a public records request.
Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said in the release that the department was “disappointed, while Coach Larry Fedora called himself “certainly upset by our players’ actions and how their choices reflect on them, our program and the university.”
“These young men knew the rules and are being held responsible for the poor choices they have made,” Fedora said in the statement. “Accountability is an important core principle in this program. We will learn from this and aim to do better in the future.”
The school had announced in January that the team was receiving “exclusive Air Jordan 3s,” according to Inside Carolina.
Fedora had said that leadership would be the key factor in choosing a starting quarterback, according to the News & Observer.
“That’s the No. 1 thing,” Fedora said, according to the paper. “Somebody takes over the team and then the team becomes theirs. They’ve got to be able to do it not only on the field but off the field.”
North Carolina finished 3-9 last season, including 1-7 in the ACC. The Tar Heels were picked to finish sixth in the seven-team ACC Coastal Division at last month’s media kickoff event.
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