Kendric Burney cleared to return
Burney missed the previous seven games. He was suspended six games for violations of NCAA agent benefits and preferential treatment rules and was held out of the Miami Hurricanes game while the university worked with the NCAA to determine his eligibility status.
Burney has nine career interceptions and is in his fourth season as a starter. Prior to this season, he had started all 38 games in his career.
The status of two players -- defensive lineman Michael McAdoo and fullback Devon Ramsay -- remain in question.
McAdoo is the only remaining player of the 13 who missed the opener against LSU; Ramsay played the first four games before he was held out due to the investigation.
The NCAA launched an investigation in the summer focused on agent-related benefits, though it expanded to possible academic violations. Those cases were handled primarily by the school's student judicial system, though privacy laws prevent the school from discussing in detail any player's involvement in the academic review.
Burney will become the fifth to return to the game action for the Tar Heels (4-3). A sixth, tailback Ryan Houston, was cleared to return to the lineup after missing the first five games, but he might redshirt.
Three others were kicked off the team: UNC dismissed one player and two were declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA -- all in connection with agent-related benefits. In addition, the school announced three others won't play this year without specifying why.
Burney's return will be a huge boost to a secondary that has been riddled with injuries and suspensions this season. Safety Da'Norris Searcy suffered a mild concussion last Saturday against Miami, cornerback Mywan Jackson left the game with a groin injury, and freshman corner Tre Boston injured his ankle.
Cornerback LeCount Fantroy has also missed the past six quarters with a shoulder injury.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.