The University of North Carolina on Monday kicked star defensive tackle Marvin Austin off the football team, and the NCAA ruled wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn “permanently ineligible” because of gifts they received from agents.
The three were among more than a dozen football players UNC had suspended since the beginning of the season while the NCAA and university officials investigated allegations of dealings with agents and academic violations.
“What should be a day of focus on who is playing and how well they played in (Saturday’s) game, I’m afraid, is just the opposite,” UNC Athletics Director Dick Baddour said during a Monday news conference.
UNC estimated Little accepted $4,952 in benefits and Quinn accepted $5,642.
Little accepted diamond earrings and travel to the Bahamas, Washington, D.C., and Miami, among other benefits, the university said. Quinn accepted two black diamond watches, a pair of matching earrings and travel to Miami, among other benefits.
The NCAA also found that Little and Quinn provided false and misleading statements in three interviews with investigators, the university said. The players provided more accurate information only after investigators presented evidence to show that they weren’t being truthful.
In ruling the players permanently ineligible, the NCAA considered the type of violations, the value of benefits received and the student-athlete’s acceptance of responsibility.
Although the NCAA hasn’t completed its investigation of Austin, Baddour said it was in the university’s best interest to remove him from the football team immediately.
The NCAA has told UNC that Austin likewise received improper benefits and was untruthful about it, Baddour said. He estimated the benefits Austin received at $10,000 to $13,000.
UNC won’t appeal any of the actions to the NCAA, he said.
The three players remain on scholarship, but head coach Butch Davis said none would be allowed to practice with the team again.
Austin issued a statement through his Miami attorney to apologize for his actions.
“I deeply regret my actions and the embarrassment I brought to the university and to the football program,” Austin said. “I will pay a severe price for my poor decisions by not being able to play my entire senior season.”
Representatives for Little and Quinn couldn’t be reached for comment.