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NCAA probe puts UNC campus on edge

UNC students say word that the Tar Heels football team is under NCAA investigation stings.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said Friday that they are anxiously waiting for details of an NCAA investigation of the school's athletics program.

By all indications, the focus is on possible violations within the football program. InsideCarolina.com and ESPN.com have both reported that defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little were questioned by the NCAA.

Neither player could be reached for comment Friday.

Travis Spencer, who like the two football players is a senior, said it's difficult for students not knowing what type of violation is being investigated.

"From what the talk I've heard, it's like the stars who could have gone pro and stuck around are kind of questioning why they didn't go pro," Spencer said. "I was kind of surprised. I never really thought of us like doing stuff like that."

Few people on campus actually know what the investigation is about because the NCAA has asked university officials, coaches and players not to comment.

Bob Winston, chairman of UNC's Board of Trustees, said he was told there was an investigation, but he wasn't given any details.

Atlantic Coast Conference officials said they, likewise, are in the dark about the probe.

Although there's no time frame for completing such investigations, NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said investigators usually like to wrap them up within a year.

UNC senior Kamari Daniels said he would like the matter resolved before the football season starts so that the investigation doesn't become a distraction for the team.

If investigators do find a violation, sanctions would be decided by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. UNC has not been before that committee since 1961.

Steve Kirschner, UNC associate athletic director, said there has been no indication that the school would go before the committee in the current case.

"If we do get in trouble, it's a dead shame, but hopefully, I'm pretty sure, we won't," UNC senior Craig Knight said.

Claire Atwell, a UNC senior who is co-chairwoman of the Carolina Fever student fan club, said she hopes people don't judge the football team or players prematurely.

"(The situation) is difficult, I think, especially since there's been a lot of buzz about our football team this year," Atwell said. "(An investigation) doesn't mean that anything bad has happened, and I think people should just keep an open mind and wait to hear something."



Erin Hartness, Reporter
Pete James, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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