CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina Tar Heels held out another player against Clemson due to the ongoing NCAA investigation into the football program.
Fullback Devon Ramsay missed Saturday's 21-16 win because of information gathered this week in the probe into agent-related and improper benefits, as well as possible academic misconduct.
"It's an ongoing investigation, and we would go where the information would lead us," athletic director Dick Baddour said during a briefing with reporters roughly an hour before kickoff.
"We're looking at information that, in some cases, is three years old, and it just takes a long time to get through it all, and we just all deeply regret that it's just come up," he added. "But we're going to be very cautious with information that we get, and it'll just take us a while to analyze this and process it through."
The school also said senior safety Jonathan Smith -- who has been held out of every game -- won't play this year, with Baddour saying only that he is "trying to not label people" but that he "is not eligible to participate the rest of the year." The AD said he believes Smith might be redshirted.
North Carolina was without 11 players against the Tigers due to the probe. The status of Ramsay and eight other players remains in question, while cornerback Kendric Burney will miss one more game because of improper benefits connected to several trips.
The news cast a cloud on an afternoon when safety Deunta Williams, one of several NFL prospects caught up in the probe, returned to the lineup. He was declared ineligible for four games due to improper benefits, also connected to trips.
"My whole situation, I just want to take this time to apologize to the university, all our fans, for putting myself and the program in this position," Williams said in his first comments to reporters since his suspension.
Ramsay had played in all of the Tar Heels' previous four games, catching two passes for 15 yards. Baddour said he hopes the NCAA will not consider forcing North Carolina to forfeit its two victories because Ramsay played in them.
"I think you all know that we have been in frequent contact with the NCAA," Baddour said. "They signed off on the process that we're using. They have indicated to us several times that they have trust in our process, and we have certainly had more than a good faith investigation going here. My hope is that they would accept the effort that we're doing."
Smith was one of six players North Carolina said would be held out while the school and NCAA worked to clear up their eligibility. So far, tailback Shaun Draughn and safety Da'Norris Searcy have been cleared from that list, with Draughn missing the opener and Searcy missing three games.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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