Charleston Southern suspends 14 players for Florida State game, 32 in total

Update II: Charleston Southern has released a statement on the players who will be suspended on Saturday. There are 32 players suspended total, with 16 having already served their one-game suspension. For the Florida State game, 14 players are suspended.

The full statement from the university, courtesy Scott Eisberg of WCIV News.

Charleston Southern University will withhold 14 players from Saturday's football game at Florida State. CSU self-reported to the NCAA financial aid violations related to book purchases. In total, 32 football players must serve a one-game suspension. Sixteen student-athletes suspensions were staggered over the first two weeks of the season and two additional players will serve their suspensions at a later date.

Under NCAA rules, student-athletes may purchase books and school supplies with financial aid provided to them to purchase books. Other items cannot be covered by that financial aid.

CSU is continuing an internal review of possible NCAA rules violations within the athletics program. The university is working with the NCAA, the Big South Conference and an outside consultant during the process.

Charleston Southern coach Jamey Caldwell confirmed that there are a number of suspensions, but not as many as initially noted by the players on social media. Caldwell said they have a full travel squad making the trip, but 14 players this week are out.

Update: FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox expects the Seminoles to continue with their home opener as originally planned, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Original story: Charleston Southern will face Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. The Buccaneers are 37.5-point underdogs as an FCS program, but the difficult task of taking on the Seminoles might now be impossible as multiple Charleston Southern players announced late Thursday that half the team has been suspended for the game.

In a Facebook post, wide receiver Colton Korn said the suspensions of 30-plus players -- FCS teams have 85 scholarships split among 63 athletes -- stem from them using book money on non-book supplies at the bookstore, which resulted in a violation of NCAA rules.

Running back Ben Robinson said he and more than 30 of his teammates were told of their suspensions on Thursday and given the choice to either sit out the Florida State game or their conference game the following week.

From Robinson's Facebook page:

So basically about 30+ players on my team including me have been suspended for using book money to buy other things in the book store like pencils, binders, and electronics, out of our school bookstore. We would have left over book money and the workers in the bookstore advised us to spend the money because we would not get it back, so we did. Now the school and NCAA are saying that is against the rules. So we all have to pay a fine and sit out a game. About 30mins before practice started I was given the option of sitting out this week against FSU or next game against a conference opponent.

Offensive lineman Frank Cirone said the entire offensive line was among those suspended. He also had harsh words for Charleston Southern, saying the suspensions were avoidable had the school taken the proper steps to ensure the players were informed.

"It is unfortunate Charleston Southern University only cares about itself as an institution. The protection of its students/athletes should be a number one priority. This is the second time in two years I am ineligible to participate due [to] issues that could of been avoided if the necessary steps were taken by Charleston Southern," he said.

Korn shared a similar sentiment: "I'm bewildered at the lack of respect that the university is showing us athletes and student body as a whole. ... Nobody is going to want to come to a 'university' where students and athletes alike are treated lesser than every other college student."

The school has not confirmed any suspensions for the Florida State game, but if these players' statements are true, it's going to make for an extremely lopsided affair.

As for players picking the game they have to sit out, the obvious choice would be the Florida State game. Despite having the obvious opportunity to play at Doak Campbell Stadium, the nonconference affair is far less important to the Buccaneers' season than their opening league game the following week.

It's an unfortunate circumstance for the players if their story is true, as it would appear to be an honest mistake that led to a large number of players having to miss one of the few games in their season simply because they were never made aware of the NCAA rule.

Wink of the CBS Eye to Ariya Massoudi

CBS Sports Writer

Robby Kalland covers college football and golf for CBS Sports; he also dabbles in boxing, mixed martial arts and other sports. Prior to joining CBS in 2015, Robby spent time working for the Atlanta Hawks,... Full Bio

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