GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference has suspended and reprimanded seven players who took part in an end-zone brawl following North Carolina State’s victory over North Carolina.
The league said Monday that four players from UNC — including two seniors whose eligibility has been exhausted — and three from N.C. State will be suspended for one half of their team’s next game.
The players suspended and publicly reprimanded were Dominique Ross, Patrice Rene, J.K. Britt and Jeremiah Clarke of North Carolina, and Freddie Phillips Jr., Tyler Jones and Justin Witt of N.C. State.
“All three of (his players), I’ve spoken with, and they understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t and what our standards are in our program,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. “Our guys know they can’t do that. They’ll learn from that and they’ll use it as a teachable moment and move forward.”
The Tar Heels must sit out for half of the 2019 season opener against South Carolina, while the N.C. State players will miss part of the ECU game. The schools will determine whether it’s the first or the second half of those games.
The suspensions for Britt and Clarke are symbolic because they were seniors for the Tar Heels this season. Ross and Rene will be seniors in 2019.
Jones and Witt were listed as the starting offensive tackles, while Phillips is a backup cornerback on the Wolfpack’s depth chart for this week’s game against East Carolina. Doeren said he might split the suspension, with one player sitting out the first half and the other missing the second half.
“It’s not ideal, obviously, losing your left tackle and right tackle. Not ideal,” Doeren said. “But we’ll find a way. … It’s a next-man-up opportunity for somebody.”
Tempers flared immediately Saturday after Reggie Gallaspy II scored the winning touchdown in overtime in Chapel Hill. Some pushing and shoving in the end zone after that score led to an intense melee in which players from both teams were seen throwing punches.
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