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Florida A&M heads to UNC down 20 ineligible football players

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Florida A&M will be without 20 ineligible players and down to only eight available offensive linemen when it plays at North Carolina on Saturday night, an athletic department spokesman said Friday.

Spokesman Josh Padilla said a variety of academic-related issues with players have left the Rattlers short-handed, but the team was preparing to head to the airport for the flight from Tallahassee, Florida, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Coach Willie Simmons told WTXL-TV in Tallahassee earlier that he was concerned about having enough players, especially on the offensive line, to compete safely.

Florida A&M, a Southwestern Athletic Conference school in the second tier of Division I, is set to receive a $450,000 payout to play at North Carolina. Had the team not played, the school would have foregone the payment and could have been subjected to financial penalties for breaking the contract and forcing North Carolina to cancel a home game.

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