Two days after climbing over the .500 mark with a 21-16 victory over the Clemson Tigers, the tone quickly changed in Chapel Hill with the news that three of the Tar Heels' suspended stars will never again take the field in a North Carolina uniform.
Defensive tackle Marvin Austin has been suspended indefinitely from the team since September 1 for violating team rules. A university release on Monday announced that Austin has been dismissed from the program for "violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules." The basis for the dismissal was information gathered from the join NCAA investigation into improper contact with agents. One interesting part of the announcement: the release states that Austin's case was never considered by the NCAA's reinstatement committee. Making it appear as though this fate has been known for some time.
Additionally, the university announced that running back Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn have been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. According to the details of the release, the two players not only accepted gifts and benefits, but also were not entirely truthful with the NCAA during the investigation process.
(via UNC release)
The university declared both student-athletes ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules. According to the facts submitted by the university, the total value of the benefits is approximately $4,952 for Little and $5,642 for Quinn.If there is anything we have learned from the recent cases of Bruce Pearl and Dez Bryant, it is that the NCAA does not appreciate dishonesty. While UNC AD Dick Baddour and head coach Butch Davis have openly boasted their "full cooperation" with the NCAA investigation, it appears as though the players in question were not as helpful. It does not come as a huge surprise to those near the program that the three players will not see any action in 2010, but the football program's image continues to be scarred as more details emerge from the investigation.
Little accepted diamond earrings, as well as travel accommodations for the Bahamas, Washington D.C. and two trips to Miami, among other benefits. Quinn accepted two black diamond watches, a pair of matching earrings and travel accommodations for a trip to Miami, among other benefits.
Based upon information gathered by the institution and the NCAA Agent, Gambling and Amateurism staff during its joint investigation, unethical conduct charges were found against both student-athletes for providing false and misleading information. According to the facts submitted by the university, each student-athlete was not truthful during three separate interviews with university and NCAA enforcement staff members. Further, Little and Quinn only provided more accurate information when presented with evidence that was contrary to their assertions.
There will be a press conference held at 11:30 a.m. ET to address the punishments, and there will no doubt be questions related to the dreaded "lack of institutional control." The dishonesty from Little and Quinn to the NCAA not only killed their chances of getting back on the field, but reflected poorly on Butch Davis and the leadership in the program.
Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this story develops.