Friday, September 03, 2010
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AP source: UNC's Little won't travel for LSU game

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[September 03, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- North Carolina receiver Greg Little won't travel to Atlanta for the 18th-ranked Tar Heels' opener against No. 21 LSU due to the ongoing NCAA investigation at the school, a person with knowledge of the decision said Thursday night.

InsuranceThe person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the NCAA probe at the school is confidential.

Little, a senior, was one of six players to decide in January that he would return to Chapel Hill instead of entering the NFL draft. He is North Carolina's top receiver, dealing a significant blow to an offense that was already considered a question mark compared to a defense loaded with NFL prospects.

The NCAA has twice visited campus looking into whether Little and senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin -- projected as a possible first-round pick -- received improper benefits from agents. Both players worked with the second team for much of training camp.

The probe expanded to academics last week, though the school has refused to specify how many players could be involved or are in jeopardy of missing the LSU game. Along the way, the NCAA has looked at a cross-country trip involving Austin and former Tar Heel Cam Thomas as well as the friendship between assistant coach John Blake and California-based agent Gary Wichard.

Coach Butch Davis suspended Austin on Wednesday for violating team rules, while the school has been conferring with the NCAA about whether an unspecified number of players should be cleared to play Saturday. It's a violation to travel with ineligible players, so athletic director Dick Baddour said the school wouldn't take a chance with a player whose status is in doubt when the team leaves Friday morning.

"We are certainly anxiously awaiting word on a number of players," Baddour said Thursday afternoon.

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Davis said he was preparing for "best-case scenarios" during his weekly news conference Monday. But by Thursday's practice, he said the team was making "contingency plans for a variety of different things."

"We've kind of pressed our players to be prepared, practice, study film and prepare yourself as if you're going to start the game this week," he said. "Although Marvin obviously won't play in this particular ball game, we've made preparations for other guys to practice and to get practice reps."

Little had 62 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns, all team highs, last season while developing into a go-to receiver for starting quarterback T.J. Yates.

[Associated Press; By AARON BEARD]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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