Update: 4:25 p.m.: Head coach Larry Fedora and athletic director Bubba Cunningham each issued statements at Monday's press conference, regarding the suspensions of 13 football players.
“We self-reported to the NCAA back in January," Fedora said. "I’m extremely disappointed by our players' actions, and how those actions reflect on them and our program, our department and the University. Each year, every player is educated about the rules regarding apparel and equipment, specifically that the sale of apparel and equipment is an NCAA violation.
"Every single player signs an agreement, acknowledging those rules. And I will say these young men do know better, and shouldn’t have made the choice they made. But I do want you to understand that they’re young men. My responsibility is to help grow them into men. They’re going to face the consequences of their actions and we’re gonna move forward and this is going to be a great teachable moment for our football team. Accountability is an important core principle in this program. Not only for our players, but also for our staff, and these players are going to be held accountable by the penalties announced today.”
After Fedora spoke, Cunningham walked to the podium to make his remarks.
"We have really high expectations for our student-athletes, for our coaches," Cunningham said. "In this case, we’re disappointed. Disappointed that the student-athletes won’t be able to compete for a couple of games. Disappointed that we have to report this. I’m really pleased with our compliance operation.
"I thought the compliance operation, once we found out about it, worked really quick to react. I want to compliment the coaches, the students for coming together really quickly. For providing accurate information to us so that we can compile that and turn it into the NCAA. The NCAA turned it around really quickly, and so we’re now at the point of implementing the penalties associated with the mistakes that we made. We will continue to strive to get better. We have to continue to get our educational program better. We have to get better in so many different ways. Encourage the students to make good decisions.
"But we certainly made a mistake and we’ll have to suffer the consequences and play without a couple of players. But I’m really encouraged by the students and their reaction. The teammates have all supported them. They’re excited to get going with the 2018 season and we’re looking forward to putting this behind us and having a great year."
Thirteen North Carolina football players will serve game suspensions this season for selling team-issued shoes, UNC announced on Monday afternoon in a press release.
Nine players will serve four-game suspensions; two will serve two-game suspensions; and two will serve one-game suspensions, per the release.
Quarterback Chazz Surratt, defensive ends Malik Carney and Tomon Fox and wide receiver Beau Corrales will all serve four-game suspensions, the release said.
Offensive lineman Brian Anderson, defensive end Tyrone Hopper, offensive lineman Quiron Johnson, linebacker Malik Robinson and offensive lineman Jordan Tucker will also serve four-game suspensions, the release said.
Defensive backs Greg Ross and Tre Shaw will serve two-game suspensions, and quarterback Jack Davidson and offensive lineman Jonah Melton will serve one-game suspensions, according to the release.
“I am certainly upset by our players' actions and how their choices reflect on them, our program and the University," head coach Larry Fedora said in a statement. "These young men knew the rules and are being held responsible for the poor choices they have made. Accountability is an important core principle in this program. We will learn from this and aim to do better in the future.”
Eleven players will begin their suspensions with UNC's season opener at California on Sept. 1, and sit out the next three games against East Carolina, Central Florida and Pittsburgh.
At the defensive end position, however, the NCAA approved a request to stagger Carney and Fox's suspensions. Carney will begin his four-game suspension against East Carolina on Sept. 8, and Fox will begin his against Miami on Sept. 27.
All players will be able to participate in team activities during their suspension, the school said.
"We are disappointed," athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "Chancellor Folt, Coach Fedora and I have high expectations of all of our students, coaches and staff, and we expect everyone to embrace and abide by all team and NCAA rules. We always will strive to get better."
Greg Barnes of InsideCarolina reported on Monday that the football team received UNC Retro Air Jordan 3s on Jan. 11. The athletic department was notified by email on Jan. 12 that some players had sold the shoes for cash, Barnes reported.
UNC self-reported the violation to the NCAA in February, as reported by WRAL's Gravley and InsideCarolina's Barnes.
On March 23, the NCAA ruled the shoe sales a secondary Level III violation, Barnes reported.
The Tar Heels begin their season with away games at California on Sept. 1 and East Carolina on Sept. 8, before home games against Central Florida on Sept. 15 and Pittsburgh on Sept. 22.
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