There was a good chance before Tuesday that five freshmen — Antoine Thompson, Kevince Brown, Xavier Lyas, Erin Collins and Isaiah Moore — would not have made much of a positive impact on N.C. State’s football season.
The five newcomers could have a negative impact on what has been shaping up to be a promising season for the Wolfpack.
The school announced disciplinary action against the five players on Tuesday amid a sexual assault investigation. Thompson, a freshman receiver, and Brown, a freshman defensive end, were dismissed from the team for their role in an on-campus party on July 21.
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Thompson and Brown are no longer enrolled at N.C. State, according to athletic director Debbie Yow. Lyas (defensive end), Collins (running back) and Moore (linebacker) were suspended from competition but remain on the team.
“We had five freshmen, two of whom have been dismissed, who made poor decisions that don’t align with the values of our program and each has been handled accordingly,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said in a statement released by the school.
The players were found to violate the school’s Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, according to a press release from N.C. State. According to the university police, one of the players had hosted a party, with about a dozen students, on July 21 at the Wolf Village apartment complex on campus.
According to the university police report, the party involved alcohol and marijuana use. N.C. State’s Student-Athlete Code of Conduct includes a policy that says student-athletes must abide by North Carolina laws regarding alcohol. All five players are under the legal drinking age.
In July, N.C. State University police made public incident reports that indicated two of the female students told police they had been raped, while a third female student told police she was the victim of sexual battery.
None of the five players face legal charges but N.C. State University Police Chief Jack Moorman said the criminal investigation is ongoing.
The university police notified the athletic department of the players involved on Aug. 8, according to the information released by the school on Tuesday. The players were disciplined by Doeren over the course of the next two days.
The immediate on-field impact for N.C. State is likely minimal. None of the five players has ever taken a snap in a Wolfpack uniform. Only Collins, a running back, played at a position of need for the Wolfpack this season and was unlikely to break through the depth chart.
In the long term, the problems could lead to on-field trouble. While N.C. State is set on the defensive line for this season, it faces significant turnover for the 2018 season, where Brown and Lyas could have possibly helped.
More than a quarter of N.C. State’s most recent recruiting class is caught up in the investigation. Doeren had only added 19 freshmen players in the most recent class. Thompson, Brown, Collins and Lyas are four of the eight players Doeren signed in the class from the state of Florida.
Either way, what had been a quiet training camp, and overwhelming positive in terms of build-up for the season, took a sour turn on Tuesday and with more possible ramifications to come.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio