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An off-campus incident involving several members of the football team in early August has been investigated by UNC’s Office of Student Affairs and been referred to the campus’ student attorney general.
The incident attracted widespread media attention, including initial allegations of hazing, in late August, shortly before the start of the football season. On the same day the news media reported that UNC was investigating an incident during preseason football practice, Coach Larry Fedora suspended four defensive backfield players from the first game of the season for violating unspecified team rules.
Sources had told the website Yahoo Sports that in the first week of August, freshman nonscholarship player Jackson Boyer sustained a concussion in an incident involving multiple teammates at a Chapel Hill hotel where the team was staying during preseason camp. Boyer is listed in the media guide as a redshirt freshman wide receiver from Chapel Hill — a sophomore academically.
Kevin Best ’93, deputy director of sports information in the athletics department, issued an initial statement: “We are aware of an incident involving members of the UNC football team that took place earlier this month. We take this allegation seriously, and the University is conducting a thorough review.”
On Sept. 11, the University released this statement:
“When the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first learned of an off-campus incident that occurred Aug. 4, reports of that incident were taken very seriously, and a thorough review was immediately initiated.
“Since the incident involved students, that investigation was conducted by the Office of Student Affairs as part of a well-defined process. The process also involved administrative notification to the University’s Department of Public Safety to ensure compliance with the federal Clery Act and proceeded — in a timely fashion — with the full cooperation of all departments involved.
“The Office of Student Affairs has completed its investigation. On Wednesday (Sept. 10), the Dean of Students and the Office of Student Conduct provided the results of that investigation to the Student Attorney General as the next step in the student-led Honor System. The Student Attorney General receives reports of possible student behavior violations and independently determines whether to file disciplinary charges.
“Because of the University’s commitment to protect the privacy rights of students and to protect the integrity of the ongoing process, the University will offer no additional comment at this time.”
The story became public Aug. 27, and on that afternoon Fedora announced the suspensions of Desmond Lawrence, Donnie Miles, M.J. Stewart and Brian Walker. Lawrence and Walker had been listed as starters for the Aug. 30 game with Liberty.