North Carolina entered the 2010 college football season a hot tip for success with a roster rich in NFL talent. Most of those stars never played a snap after a NCAA investigation into improper conduct with agents, benefits and academic misconduct led to a series of suspensions. The likes of Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin and Greg Little wouldn’t play another down of college ball.
As we prepare for the 2011 season, again we’re looking at a Tarheels roster deep in talent. But once again, we’re also left to wonder if we’ll see one of their stars the field. ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting that a NCAA investigator interviewed star defensive end Quinton Coples – a potential top-ten pick next year – after he attended a draft party arranged by Quinn and Austin:
“Photographs of Coples with Austin and Quinn that appeared on Facebook and the web site EliteDCMag.com prompted the inquiry. The party is labeled as taking place at “Ultrabar” nightclub. Also seen in photos with players is at least one alleged runner the NCAA has investigated. Before the NFL draft, the NCAA warned some prospective draft choices not to allow any former teammates to accept extra benefits or preferential treatment from anyone such as an agent or a runner. The letter read in part: ‘Please do not jeopardize the NCAA eligibility of your friends or former teammates.’ The NCAA wants to know how Coples paid for his travel to the party, who paid for his admission and his hotel, and if he accepted any free food or drink.”
In total, thirteen North Carolina players missed the season opener and some missed the entire year. While we hope not to be robbed of watching Coples play next season as he prepares for a career in the NFL, it has to be asked – why is this happening again at North Carolina?
To see what we could be missing, here’s Aaron Aloysius’ tape on Coples when UNC faced Tennessee, Florida State and NC State: