UNC linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter have been cleared by the NCAA and will play against LSU in Saturday night's game in Atlanta, team spokesman Kevin Best said tonight.
Tar Heels safety Deunta Williams will not play against LSU. He is one of now seven players who have been found in violation of NCAA and/or school rules and are being held out of the game.
Sturdivant and Carter are on their way to Atlanta tonight to join the team, Best said. In total, 13 players, including nine starters - seven of them on defense - will be held out of the game.
The NCAA has requested more information on Deunta Williams and opted not to clear him. Getting Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter back is a tremendous boost for the defense. Both are big time playmakers and UNC needs all the help they can get.
As for the process UNC is going through with the NCAA, be sure to check out UNC AD Dick Baddour's conversation with Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 The Fan. Baddour discusses the three "groups" and how UNC is working with the NCAA to resolve the status of each one.
UPDATE: Via Robbi Pickeral at the N&O, the explanation of what "ineligible" vs "withheld" means.
Declared ineligible, out for LSU: Austin (who was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for breaking team rules); Little; cornerbacks Charles Brown and Kendric Burney; defensive ends Michael McAdoo and Robert Quinn; and safety Deunta Williams. UNC is coming up with a proposed "remedy," or punishment, that the NCAA would accept to restore eligibility.
"Withheld" from LSU: UNC has not declared that tailbacks Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn; defensive end Linwan Euwell; or safeties Brian Gupton, Da'Norris Searcy and Jonathan Smith have committed any violations. But the school needs to gather more facts. "If you're at that stage, you would be running a significant risk to play those students," Baddour said. "If they are found that they're in violation, then you would have to vacate the game.
In other news, NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall has subpoenaed Marvin Austin as part of her political grandstanding investigation into whether any state laws were broken during Agent-gate. You know it would have been nice if Marshall had shown a little more sensitivity to the situation given the events of the day. Between the media circus surrounding UNC leaving for Atlanta, the release of which players are involved and the general cloud hanging over the program it would have been nice had Marshall stuck her subpoena in a drawer for a few more days. Or better yet, what in the name of Zebulon B. Vance has Marshall been waiting for? Everyone knows Marvin Austin was involved in the investigation why wait until now to subpoena him? Was it because there was no actual confirmation of his role and UNC provided that by declaring him ineligible? Or is Marshall jumping in on the party since the story is drawing so much attention? Then again, maybe it is better all the bad news drops at once instead of trickling out like it has been for months on end.
At present that is probably the last non-football news we will see pertaining to this game. Time to focus on LSU.