Miami kicks off 2 defensive starters for breaking NCAA rules

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami threw two defensive starters off its football team Saturday for NCAA violations, after a months-long probe into whether players had access to luxury rental cars.

Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad and linebacker Jermaine Grace were "permanently dismissed" from the team, though the school is offering to continue providing financial aid until they graduate from Miami. It was not immediately clear if either player is planning to remain at the university, which remains on probation over the actions of a former rogue booster.

Another linebacker, Juwon Young, left Miami several weeks ago and was part of the same rental-car probe. He now is on Marshall's roster.

The fallout from the investigation will have a major impact on the Hurricanes, who open their season Sept. 3 against Florida A&M — as it cost Miami its three leading tacklers from a year ago. Grace had 79 tackles, Young had 57. Muhammad, who missed the entire 2014 season because of a university-imposed suspension after an off-campus fight, had 54 and led the Hurricanes in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (5).

"The decision was made in consultation with outside counsel and after discussions with the NCAA enforcement staff," the university said in a statement. "As no staff members or boosters were involved in the violations, the program will not be subject to sanctions and, at this time, the University deems this matter closed."

Declaring the matter closed means that wide receiver Stacy Coley, who was also investigated as part of the rental-car probe, was apparently not found to have done anything meriting sanctions.

Miami coach Mark Richt is not scheduled to address reporters again until Tuesday.

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