UNC suspends freshman guard Jalek Felton

Felton's attorney Kerry Sutton said that the suspension was not a sanction, but rather a precautionary measure while UNC 'gathers information'

Jalek Felton goes up for a shot against Western Carolina's Marcus Thomas during the second half of UNC's win earlier this season (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

  North Carolina has announced that guard Jalek Felton has been suspended from the university and is not currently eligible to participate in any sanctioned activities. That means he will not be with the team tonight when the Tar Heels play a key ACC road game at Clemson.

  No details were given as to the reason for or length of Felton’s suspension. A release announcing the move cited federal privacy laws as the reason for the university’s inability to comment.

According to Durham attorney Kerry Sutton, who confirmed that she is representing Felton, the action taken against the player is an “interim suspension,” which is a step UNC takes as a precaution while it investigates the facts of a case. Sutton’s specialty is working with athletes in Title IX matters.

“It may be short-lived. It may be a couple of weeks,” said Sutton, who has gained local notoriety for her work defending members of the Duke lacrosse team against false rape allegations in 2006 and more recently, UNC football player Allen Artis in his sexual assault case. “But it’s not a punishment. It’s not any kind of sanction. It’s just a ‘we need to put things on pause while we gather information’ (situation). That’s all it is.”

  A 6-foot-3 freshman from West Columbia, S.C., Felton has played in all 22 games this season for UNC. His playing time has diminished since the start of the conference schedule as he has found minutes hard to come by behind backcourt starters Joel Berry and Kenny Williams.

  Felton, a former five-star recruit and the nephew of former Tar Heel and NBA star Raymond Felton, is averaging 2.9 points and 1.6 assists while shooting 38.7 percent from the floor in just under 10 minutes of action per game. His best performance came on Dec. 6, when he hit for 15 points and five assists in a win against Western Carolina.