NCAA clears UNC’s Sturdivant, Carter to play

North Carolina linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter have been cleared to play in the 18th-ranked Tar Heels’ opener against No. 21 LSU on Saturday.

Safety Deunta Williams (dee-AHN’-tay) will not play due to the ongoing NCAA investigation into the program.

The three players didn’t travel with the team when it left Chapel Hill for Atlanta on Friday morning as the school conferred with the NCAA on their status. While Sturdivant and Carter will play, the university said in a statement Friday night the NCAA needed more information before ruling on Williams.

The news means the Tar Heels will be without 13 players, including at least six starters from a defense that ranked among the nation’s best last season.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Investigators from the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office have subpoenaed Tar Heels defensive tackle Marvin Austin, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Austin is one of 15 players who did not travel with the team to Atlanta for Saturday’s opener against No. 21 LSU because of an NCAA probe.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall’s office is reviewing whether North Carolina’s sports agents laws have been broken in the wake of the NCAA investigation into the school’s football program.

The NCAA probe initially focused on whether Austin and receiver Greg Little got improper benefits from agents and has now expanded to possible academic violations.

George Jeter, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, declined to comment on the subpoena.

“All I can say is it’s an active, ongoing inquiry at this time,” he said.

Earlier Friday, the school said it had declared Austin, defensive ends Robert Quinn and Michael McAdoo, cornerbacks Kendric Burney and 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 _ are being held out of the game during the investigation.

The school also said three other players were still in jeopardy of missing the game against the Tigers and wouldn’t travel with the team when it left Chapel Hill, though officials were working with the NCAA to determine their status for the game.

School spokesman Kevin Best said that linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter, and safety Deunta Williams _ all starters _ weren’t on the team plane as the Tar Heels left Friday morning. He wouldn’t say whether they were the three players whose status is in doubt.

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