Michigan State might have influenced UNC on Jalek Felton.
No one is talking, from the highest university spokesman to Roy Williams, about UNC suspending his freshman point guard this week. Williams said he knows nothing, wasn’t told anything, and you have to believe him based on how it was handled.
In light of the scandal that morphed from convicted sexual predator — Olympic trainer Larry Nassar — to his employer Michigan State, it makes sense that Carolina is doing everything to keep itself out of any controversy over Felton.
The same Durham attorney who handled sexual assault charges against UNC football player Allen Artis is representing Felton. The attorney, Kerry Sutton, had the charges dropped against Artis after they could not be substantiated and confirmed that Felton’s suspension is “what UNC does when they’re gathering information. He’s not being punished, it is not a sanction. It’s a pause mechanism while everyone gets their information together.”
Whether or not it is consistent with past actions by the university, you can bet the scandal that has erupted at Michigan State had something to do with UNC’s decision to suspend Felton and make no further comment. It is a prudent way to keep from eventually being hit with a lack of transparency claims, or that information was circulating around the administration that no one acted upon. That goes back to why Penn State got so heavily criticized over the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Frankly, it may not be fair to Felton, who could say he was suspended without any due process. Hopefully he will back in class and with the team in a few days. Sutton seems confident that will be the outcome.
Meanwhile, at Michigan State, where so many administrators and coaches are graduates of the school, an alleged cover up to protect the reputation of the university could lead to more resignations beyond the president and athletics director. For that school, the toothpaste may be too far out of the tube.