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Burney Cleared to Play vs. William & Mary

via Inside Carolina:

UNC senior cornerback Kendric Burney has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be in the lineup for this weekend's game against William & Mary.

Burney was suspended six games by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits and sat out last week's game while resolving an eligibility issue with the NCAA.

Nothing official has been released by UNC, but Burney reportedly appeared before the honor court last week and received an F in a course from last semester that threw his eligibility to play this season into question.  Burney only had one course remaining to graduate and was playing under an NCAA regulation that says students may be enrolled less than full-time if they are taking all the courses required to complete their degree. The honor court ruling now meant that Burney needed two classes to graduate and was therefore not in compliance with that particular NCAA rule. Burney commented to a local TV station near his hometown that all he needed to do to be eligible was "pick up a class" on the next day after his hearing, but it was long after the last official time for students to add courses and promptly caused a conniption among ABCers and others. UNC then withheld him from the Miami game while things were sorted out.

Obviously by signing off on Burney's eligibility, a solution was found that satisfied the NCAA, which apparently waived the enrollment rule. Again I'm sure the ABCers will have convulsions and the merits of allowing a player who had an honor court conviction to return to the team can be debated all day long. On the other hand, there were those who shouted that football players who appeared before the honor court should be treated like any other student and that appears to have happened in this case, given that any student who received a similar ruling from the honor court could find a way to restore his way onto a team or activity. And, lost in all this hand-wringing is the fact that Burney has obviously been a good student and achieved enough credits to graduate in 4 years (assuming he left one class remaining so he could play this fall) but apparently made a stupid mistake that resulted in his appearance before the honor court.

Burney was hoping to be back for the Miami game and other than giving Jacory Harris flashbacks of the three INTs he threw last year that Burney picked off, he may not have made a difference. But his return to the team is vital in a secondary depleted by injury and he has a good week to return as the Heels get their "easy week" in which they play the #3 team in the FCS. Still, if everyone can get healthy, UNC now has 3/4 of their starting secondary ready for the stretch run against three of the ACC's best quarterbacks in November.