CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour said Friday the school is still waiting to hear whether 13 players who missed the opener due to an ongoing NCAA investigation will return for next weekend's game against No. 15 Georgia Tech.
"We're working hard on a number of scenarios and I would repeat what I've said before: I'm hopeful we'll get some movement in some cases, but I just cannot guarantee it at this time," Baddour said.
The 13 players -- including potential NFL draft prospects Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams from a talented defense -- didn't travel with the team to face LSU in Atlanta last week due to the inquiry into agent-related benefits and possible academic misconduct.
The Tar Heels nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter, driving all the way to the LSU 6 in the final seconds before missing on two passes into the end zone in the 30-24 loss.
The school has been conferring steadily with the NCAA about the players' status over the past two weeks. North Carolina is off this week, giving the school more time to get answers.
The day before the LSU game, the school said it had declared Austin, Quinn, Burney, defensive end Michael McAdoo, cornerback Charles Brown and receiver Greg Little ineligible "for violating school and/or NCAA rules."
Another six players -- top tailbacks Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston; safeties Brian Gupton, Da'Norris Searcy and Jonathan Smith; and defensive end Linwan Euwell -- were held out of the game as a precaution. Later that night, the school said Williams would also be out because the NCAA wanted more information before ruling on his status.
It's also possible that the academic concerns involving a tutor might go back a year or more, though Baddour has refused to say exactly when they might have taken place.
"We will go where the investigation takes us," he said, "and if that's where it takes us, then that's where we would go."