After being suspended by his team Tuesday, North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones was reinstated this morning by the NCAA and will be allowed to participate in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl December 26 against Missouri, according to Tar Heels' head coach Everett Whithers.
The Tar Heels suspended Jones, the ACC's leading receiver, yesterday after a flyer surfaced online advertising a New Year's Eve birthday party honoring Jones were discovered. The flyer, shown below, identifies Jones by name and uses a picture of him in his North Carolina uniform. The NCAA prohibits athletes from using their name and likeness as part of a for-profit venture.
Upon discovering the flyer, UNC officials decided to suspend Jones and ask the NCAA to considering reinstating him after investigating the matter further.
Jones, upon hearing of his suspension, apologized.
"I apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, and the university for the poor decision I made to allow my likeness to be used in the promotion of a party given by a family member while still a part of the Carolina football team," Jones said in a prepared statement. "I should have asked the coaching staff or administration before allowing this to happen."
From an NFL draft perspective, the suspension and subsequent reinstatement isn't likely to mean much. Jones was never accused of any criminal acts. Had he advertised the party in the days after his final game rather than before, this wouldn't be a story. Jones, after all, as a senior has no eligibility remaining.
Jones led the ACC in both receptions (79) and receiving touchdowns (11) this season. He finished third in receiving yardage (1,119) and has emerged as one of the more intriguing senior receiver prospects in the country. Blessed with surprising speed and after-the-catch skills for a receiver of his size (6-4, 225 pounds), Jones is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 5 senior receiver in the draft.