Florida A&M College Football plays its season opener in North Carolina despite losing 20 players due to eligibility issues.

The school said Friday that Florida A&M will miss 20 ineligible players and drop to just seven available offensive linemen when it plays in North Carolina on Saturday night.

Spokesman Josh Padilla said a variety of academic issues related to the 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 for Saturday night’s game (8:15 p.m., ACC Network) .

In a statement, Rattlers coach Willie Simmons said the team decided not to play after learning Thursday night that seven of the offensive linemen were deemed ineligible. With three more wounded and nursing, the Rattlers had only seven healthy Assault Troops. After further discussion on Friday, the team finally decided to play the game.

“Players have not felt comfortable playing under these conditions and are all understandably frustrated with many of our internal processes in the accreditation process, so they have decided not to play,” Simmons’ statement said. “After a few more discussions with the university leadership, including the university president, the players finally decided to play the game. I support these guys 100% in whatever they decide and I am very proud of them because they stood up for themselves!”

Florida A&M is set to take a $450,000 guarantee to play the game, part of a celebration of historic black colleges and universities this week at the United Nations University campus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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