Ever since word came down last month that some UNC football players had been caught selling their Jordan Brand merchandise, it’s been difficult to project the season without knowing who was going to have to sit and for how long.
On Monday, we found out.
UNC announced all the suspensions related to the sale of University-issued apparel, and the list is extensive:
OL Brian Anderson (four games)
DE Malik Carney (four games)
WR Beau Corrales (four games)
DE Tomon Fox (four games)
DE Tyrone Hopper (four games)
OL Quiroz Johnson (four games)
LB Malik Robinson (four games)
QB Chazz Surratt (four games)
OL Jordan Tucker (four games)
DB Greg Ross (two games)
DB Tre Shaw (two games)
QB Jack Davidson (one game)
OL Jonah Melton (one game)
On the surface, this is big blow as a team that suffered through as many injuries as they did last year appears to take a huge hit to start the season again. However, in the press release, UNC outlined that due to how many of the positions overlap, they received approval from the NCAA to spread out the suspensions of two players instead of making everyone go at once.
Malik Carney and Tomon Fox won’t have to sit for Cal, their suspensions will start with ECU. Carney goes first, sitting for ECU, UCF, Pitt, and Virginia Tech. Fox will then sit for Miami, Syracuse, UVa, and Georgia Tech. Everyone else starts their suspensions for the Cal game.
Information about the amount of money received for the shows came out after the announcements, some going for as much as $2500. That level meant the automatic four games, and now it looks like the only reason it took this long to announce the names was the extra negotiation with the NCAA in terms of staggering out the punishment on the defense.
The news caused Larry Fedora to anoint Nathan Elliott as the starting quarterback, and truth be told while the amount of players is high, the news could have been a lot worse. UNC will get their two key defensive ends for the opener against Cal, none of the major weapons on offense besides Surratt were affected, and most of the players listed aren’t starters but depth players. It’s a blow, but one that UNC can work around. The other good news is that this information came out about a month before the first game, which will give the coaches and players time to adjust. Expect UNC to take advantage of the new NCAA redshirt rule which allows players to play for four games and still retain a season of eligibility.
At least this time, the announcement of so many suspensions happened a few weeks before the first game instead of a few hours.