CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said Wednesday the team has suspended four players for this weekend’s season opener, a day after a report of an alleged hazing altercation that left a redshirt freshman walk-on receiver with a possible concussion.
Fedora said the four players were suspended for a “violation of team policy,” but offered no other details about what rules were broken. The players suspended were sophomores Des Lawrence and Brian Walker, redshirt freshman Donnie Miles and true freshman M.J. Stewart.
North Carolina has said it is conducting an investigation of what it described as an incident involving members of the team. That statement was released in response to a Yahoo Sports report, but did not confirm it was a hazing incident.
“We’re going to hold all of our guys accountable for everything they do on the field and off the field,” Fedora said after the afternoon practice. “And we also have very high expectations for guys in this program, and they didn’t meet those expectations.”
Fedora said he didn’t know if the investigation being conducted by the school’s office of student affairs was complete. He said he didn’t anticipate any more players would be suspended for violations that he said took place early in preseason camp.
The Yahoo Sports report stated that the alleged hazing involved several players and occurred in a room at the hotel where the team stayed for preseason camp.
Chapel Hill Police Lt. Josh Mecimore said Wednesday that his department had received no report from that hotel for an incident involving football players and that there was no active investigation.
Lawrence and Walker were listed as starting cornerbacks on the depth chart for the No. 23 Tar Heels. Walker has two starts in his career, while Lawrence was to be a first-time starter.
Stewart was listed behind Lawrence, while Miles was a backup at the “Ram” position — a hybrid role in North Carolina’s 4-2-5 defensive scheme.
The Tar Heels open their third season under Fedora on Saturday night against Liberty. It marks the first time UNC has opened the season ranked in the Top 25 since 2010.