COLUMBIA -- South Carolina freshman wide receiver Damiere Byrd received a four-game suspension from the NCAA and must repay benefits as a condition of becoming eligible to compete again, the NCAA announced Friday.

Byrd, projected to get significant playing time this season, already has missed one game, the Gamecocks' season-opening victory over East Carolina last week. He will be eligible to return for the Auburn game on Oct. 1.

"While we respect the process, we are very disappointed for Damiere," said athletic director Eric Hyman.

"Damiere is an outstanding individual and has been upfront with us as to what occurred during the recruiting process. He had no idea that being part of the Student Athlete Mentoring (SAM) Foundation would in any way affect his college eligibility. We continue to support him and will carefully consider appealing this decision."

The SAM Foundation is a Delaware-based organization that provides underprivileged, inner-city athletes with help in getting scholarship offers and meeting academic eligibility requirements.