Thursday, September 23, 2010

NCAA Suspends Two Tar Heels

According to the Associated Press, the suits in Kansas have suspended North Carolina defensive back Kendric Burney for six games and safety Deunta Williams (left) for four games for receiving improper benefits.

Both players must also repay benefits to become eligible, though the school plans to appeal the length of the suspensions.

In a news release, the NCAA said Burney received $1,333 in benefits while Williams received $1,426 in benefits. The school said Burney must repay $575.19 and Williams must repay $450.67 to charities of their choice.

Both players have sat out the first two games for the winless Tar Heels (0-2), which count toward their suspensions. The status of 10 other players remains in question as North Carolina prepares to travel to Rutgers. Among those players are NFL prospects Marvin Austin - who has been suspended indefinitely for breaking team rules - and Robert Quinn on defense, top receiver Greg Little and tailback Ryan Houston.

Both Burney and Williams were among six underclassmen who decided to return for their senior seasons instead of entering the NFL draft.

Athletic director Dick Baddour called the length of the suspensions "unduly harsh" and hopes to have an appeal heard by next week.

In a news release, the school said the benefits included trips to California, Atlanta and Las Vegas for Burney, and two trips to California for Williams. Most of the benefits associated with Burney came from someone who the NCAA said qualifies as an agent, while most of Williams' benefits were violations of a rule preventing athletes from receiving "preferential treatment."

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the person who qualified as an agent in Burney's case is Chris Hawkins. The former North Carolina and Marshall defensive back paid $1,000 for the jersey of Georgia receiver A.J. Green in a transaction that led to Green's recent four-game suspension. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the NCAA probe is ongoing.

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