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North Carolina DT Ethan Farmer cleared to play this season

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Rob Kinnan/USA Today Sports
North Carolina defensive tackle Ethan Farmer (middle) will be eligible to play this fall.

North Carolina senior defensive tackle Ethan Farmer, the only returning starter on the Tar Heels' defensive line, has been cleared to play this season.

Farmer had been dealing with an eligibility issue, and Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora wasn't sure if Farmer would be able to play at all this season. But the athletic department announced Thursday morning via Twitter that Farmer's "eligibility issue has been resolved and he is cleared to play in 2014."

It's a welcome bit of good news for a school that has been battered this week. News broke Tuesday that the school was investigating an alleged hazing incident, and on Wednesday night, Fedora suspended four players -- including two starting defensive backs -- for one game for a violation of team policy. He did not elaborate on the reason for the suspension.

The Heels open Saturday against FCS foe Liberty, which is expected to contend for the Big South Conference title. Still, the Heels should be able to win comfortably against the Flames.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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