COLUMBIA -- A handful of players left early from South Carolina's practice Thursday to move out of the hotel that has been part of a recent NCAA investigation.

Defensive head coach Ellis Johnson said starting safety Akeem Auguste, who was pacing outside Williams-Brice Stadium while his teammates did conditioning drills, was one of the players.

"We had some starters, two or three guys, that had to leave early to go get out of the hotel," said Johnson, who was miffed at the move causing disruption to the team's third scrimmage of preseason camp.

Last week, the NCAA questioned several players -- including tight end Weslye Saunders and North Charleston's Jarriel King -- about their living arrangements at Columbia's Whitney hotel.

Coach Steve Spurrier confirmed Thursday evening on his radio call-in show that, in an act of good faith, he asked his players to settle their bills and move elsewhere.

"There's been some issues," Spurrier said. "We've encouraged our guys to move out of the Whitney, to pay their monthly bill and move out. … Whatever their arrangements were, they need to pay up and move out."

Multiple sources have said the NCAA inquired about the Whitney as it learned more and looked into Saunders' behavior. It was something of a byproduct of the initial investigation into Saunders' possible contact with sports agents.

That inquiry began in the middle of July. Some have wondered whether it will conclude in time for USC's rapidly approaching Sept. 2 opener against Southern Miss.

Spurrier acted Thursday as if the school would know in time and would not have to make a pre-emptive decision.

"The NCAA will tell us before the game whether or not he can play," Spurrier said. "We're going under the assumption that he can play. They'll tell us whether he can or not."

Reach Travis Haney at thaney@postandcourier.com, check out the Gamecocks blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/gamecocks and follow him on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).