CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Thirteen North Carolina football players will receive game suspensions after selling team-issued UNC Retro Air Jordan 3’s in January, the school announced on Monday.

Two projected defensive line starters – ends Malik Carney and Tomon Fox – are among the nine players who will serve four-game suspensions. Carney, a senior from Alexandria, Va., led UNC with 12.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2017. Fox contributed 23 tackles and four sacks in his redshirt freshman season.

Sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt (58.5%, 1,342 passing yards, 8 TD, 3 INT), who started seven games in 2017 and was in competition with junior Nathan Elliott for the starting job, will also sit the first four games of the season (making Elliott the Week 1 starter) along with offensive lineman Brian Anderson, wide receiver Beau Corrales, defensive end Tyrone Hopper, offensive lineman Quiron Johnson, linebacker Malik Robinson, and offensive lineman Jordan Tucker.

Defensive backs Greg Ross and Tre Shaw will miss two games, and quarterback Jack Davidson and offensive lineman Jonah Melton will miss one, per a school release.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” Carney said. “I made a wrong decision. ... Once I first heard the news, it hit me hard. But I knew I couldn’t show my feelings and let the other guys see me down because a lot of guys are looking at me as a leader." 

Due to player safety concerns, the NCAA approved a request to stagger suspensions at the defensive end position. Carney will sit games against ECU, UCF, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, while Fox will sit against Miami, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech. All other suspensions will begin with the season opener at Cal on Sept. 1.

The suspended players will be permitted to participate in all team activities while serving their suspensions.

“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.”

Fifteen players impermissibly exchanged the shoes in association with their participation in athletics for cash, according to correspondence released by the school on Monday in response to public records requests. UNC ordered 175 pairs of the special-edition shoes, in which 152 pairs were provided to players and staff on Jan. 11, 2018. The 15 involved players subsequently sold their shoes for cash.

Three players – deemed student-athletes Nos. 6, 9 and 13 in the case summary - sold their shoes directly to retail outlets and were unable to retrieve them upon discovery of the violation. Two of the three pairs were sold on the day the shoes were given to the players, one going for $1,500 and another for $1,300. Two other players – SA Nos. 1 and 4 – also sold their shoes to a boutique for $2,300 and $2,500, respectively, and were able to retrieve the shoes from the store.

Six players – SA Nos. 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 11 – sold their shoes to SA Nos. 2 and 6 on Jan. 11 for prices ranging from $300 to $1,000 and were unable to retrieve them upon discovery of the violation. The remaining four players – SA Nos. 7, 12, 14 and 15 – also sold their shoes to teammates (Nos. 4 and 6) on Jan. 11 for prices ranging from $150 to $2,500 and were able to retrieve their shoes and return cash.

The NCAA guidelines for eligibility reinstatement for violations involving student-athletes are as follows: (1) Value of benefit ranges from greater than $200 to $400 = withholding of 10 percent and repayment; (2) Value of the benefit ranges from greater than $400 to $700 = withholding of 20 percent and repayment; and (3) Value of benefit greater than $700 = withholding of 30 percent and repayment. 

SA Nos. 4 and 6 sold their shoes for $200 or less and therefore did not receive a game suspension. All 15 Tar Heels will not receive any equipment or apparel for a minimum of one calendar year "unless essential to their participation in on-field team practice and competition."

The athletic department was notified via email on Jan. 12 that an unknown number of individuals may have sold their shoes to a local shoe business. By Jan. 13, the school began the process of requiring the return of the shoes to the football equipment staff. On Jan. 16, UNC had confirmed that all but nine pairs of the shoes had been accounted for by the equipment staff.

Mike Phillips, owner of SirCastleTees in Raleigh, and Gabe Salazar, owner of Request Boutique in Greensboro, were named as involved individuals in the case summary.

The NCAA deemed the shoe sales as secondary Level III violations (Bylaw 16.11.2.4) on March 23, 2018.

"We are disappointed," director of athletics Bubba Cunningham said. "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."

The case summary indicates that all of the student-athletes received rules education from compliance staff, including in-person education on July 27, 2017, in which they were informed sale or exchange of awards, equipment, shoes or apparel received from the institution was impermissible. The players also annually sign a “Department of Athletics Equipment Use Agreement” that explains the sale or exchange of team-issued goods is a violation of state, university and NCAA legislation.