Felton to Sit Out Season Opener

CHAPEL HILL --- University of North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton has been declared ineligible for one regular-season game by the NCAA for Felton's participation in a non-certified summer league basketball game in Raleigh.

Felton, a junior from Latta, S.C., will not play in Carolina's season-opening game against Santa Clara on November 19 in Oakland, Calif. Felton will be eligible to play in all other games beginning with the first round of the EA Sports Maui Classic against BYU on November 22.

Felton played one game in the Capitol Park Summer Basketball League (also known as the Chavis League) because he thought the league was properly certified as it had been in years past. However, the NCAA did not certify the Chavis League for 2004. It is against NCAA rules to compete in a non-certified basketball league.

"Coach (Roy) Williams and Coach (Joe) Holladay told us before we left for summer break that we needed to let them know if we wanted to play in any leagues, but I just thought everything was okay with the Chavis League because it had been around for years," says Felton. "I knew other college players had played and the people who ran the league told one of my teammates the league had been certified. I'm sorry I didn't check it out with our coaches or the UNC compliance people, because now I have to miss a game and not be able to help my teammates. I'll be a great fan for the Santa Clara game, and look forward to starting my season in Hawaii."

Felton was informed prior to playing in a second game that the league, in fact, had not been certified for 2004. He did not play in any other games. Following NCAA procedures, the University declared Felton ineligible and the NCAA restored his eligibility with the one-game penalty.

"Raymond and the rest of our players learned a valuable lesson and that is to check with the coaches before they play in any of these summer events," says head coach Roy Williams. "Raymond certainly wasn't trying to deceive anyone, but the NCAA still felt necessary to make him sit for a game. We will miss him in Oakland, but at least this season we have two true point guards in Wes Miller and Quentin Thomas whom we can play against Santa Clara without completely disrupting our rotations at other positions."

Felton has earned third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in each of his first two seasons and was picked for the 2004-05 preseason John Wooden Award and Naismith Award watch lists. He led the ACC and was fifth in the nation in assists last year with 7.1 per game.

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