PINEHURST, N.C. – North Carolina is going to get hit by the NCAA – and probably hit hard – but two UNC seniors said Sunday they’re trying not to think about the upcoming penalties.
“We really don’t think about that too much,” UNC senior center Jonathan Cooper said during the ACC's Football Kickoff. “It’s in the back of our minds, it’s on the back burner – what happens, happens. We’re just trying to work on improving.”
When the allegations came out, Cooper said he didn’t bother reading the NCAA’s 42-page report.
“I just heard people say it was out,” Cooper said. “It was probably more information than what we already know. I don’t pay much attention to it honestly. Whatever happens, I don’t have any control.”
The NCAA’s report listed nine allegations against the Tar Heels’ program. Several players were suspended for part or all of last season because of the allegations. However, both Cooper and North Carolina senior defensive tackle Tydreke Powell don’t hold grudges against those teammates – even though the program could see significant penalties.
“I think all of them are great guys,” Cooper said. “We all make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes in my life and I can’t say I’m any better than them. It hurts what could have been [if those players weren’t suspended], I still love the guys, they’re my teammates, they’re Tar Heels. I don’t hold anything against them.”
Powell had similar thoughts.
“I don’t have anything against them,” Powell said. “Everyone makes mistakes. There’s no one that’s perfect in this world, I don’t hold any grudges at all.”
Powell said the Tar Heels can’t dwell on what might happen with the upcoming penalties or it will affect this year’s performance.
“We’ve just got to throw it over our shoulders and strap up and play,” Powell said. “No matters what happens, we’ve still got to play.
“You can’t think about it [possible infractions]. If you think about it, it will wear you down. There’s nothing we can do about it. Why think about it? If you want to come out and have a great season you have to avoid thinking about it.”