Thirteen players from the University of North Carolina are facing suspensions of at least one game this season after selling special edition Nike Jordan shoes that were issued by UNC.

UNC football shoes suspension
UNC quarterback Chazz Surratt, seen here throwing a pass against Georgia Tech during the 2017 season, could lose the starting quarterback position after being implicated in . (Image: AP/John Bazemore)

Selling the shoes constitutes a secondary NCAA violation, with various players being suspended from one to four games for their roles in the sale of the shoes.

Quarterback Controversy

The most consequential of the suspensions may be that of quarterback Chazz Surratt. While UNC coach Larry Fedora hadnt picked a likely starter at quarterback this season, the competition was between Surratt and Nathan Elliott.

With Surratt now missing the first four games of the season, its all but assured that Elliott will at least begin the year as the starter. Elliott also started the final three games for UNC last season after Surratt was the starting quarterback for most of the year.

Also missing four games are defensive ends Malik Carney, Tomon Fox, and Tyrone Hopper, offensive linemen Brian Anderson, Quiron Johnson, and Jordan Tucker, wide receiver Beau Corrales, and linebacker Malik Robinson.

Shorter two game suspensions went to defensive backs Greg Ross and Tre Shaw, while quarterback Jack Davidson and offensive lineman Jonah Melton will miss one game each.

Staggered Shoegate Suspensions

Not all of these suspensions will be served at the very start of the season. Because many of the players play similar positions, the NCAA is allowing UNC to stagger some of the suspensions, ensuring the team wont be too thin at those positions for any one game.

The violations were self-reported by the school in February, and the NCAA has been investigating the incident since March.

In a statement, Fedora expressed disappointment for the action of his players.

I am certainly upset by our players actions and how their choices reflect on them, our program and the university, Fedora said. These young men knew the rules and are being held responsible for the poor choices they have made.

We are disappointed, added athletic director Bubba Cunningham. We expect everyone to embrace and abide by all team and NCAA rules. We always will strive to get better.

UNC is coming off a disappointing 2017 season that saw the team finish 3-9, including a paltry 1-7 record in the ACC. Expectations arent especially high for the squad this year, either: William Hill has UNC at 500/1 to win the College Football Playoff National Championship, while BetOnline.ag is offering 66/1 odds on North Carolina to win the ACC title.

While this scandal could hurt UNC on the field, its unlikely to damage the schools reputation in the way that other recent violations have done.

North Carolina was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in June 2016 after it emerged that students were able to take so-called paper classes in the universitys African and Afro-American Studies department, in which very little if any actual work was completed. In 2017, the NCAA determined that while dozens of athletes used these classes to maintain their eligibility, it could not punish the school, as the fraudulent classes were available to all students, not just basketball and football players.