The players were suspended for spending scholarship money allocated for books on other items, the school announced Friday. Among the purchases that violated NCAA rules were food and headphones, sources told ESPN.com. Charleston Southern self-reported the financial aid violations to the NCAA.
The suspensions among the starters included two running backs, a wide receiver, four offensive linemen, two safeties and a defensive tackle. Senior Ben Robinson, a Tallahassee native, was one of the suspended running backs and watched the game from the stands with his family.
Despite the depleted roster, coach Jamey Chadwell said he "didn't want it to be a pity party. Don't feel sorry for us."
Before the game, a Charleston Southern spokesman declined to name the suspended players.
Defensive back D.J. Curl was reinstated for Saturday's game after the NCAA cleared him. He flew to Tallahassee Saturday morning.
A total of 31 Charleston Southern players will end up serving one-game suspensions for NCAA violations. Two players have yet to serve their suspensions, and a Charleston Southern spokesman said the school is working with the NCAA to decide which game the final two will miss.
Under NCAA rules, student-athletes may purchase books and school supplies with the financial aid provided to them to purchase books. Other items cannot be covered by that financial aid.
Charleston Southern, the seventh-ranked team in FCS, was not likely to challenge Florida State even with all its players. The Buccaneers (1-2) fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter but averted a shutout when Robert Mitchell threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Brown late in the second quarter.
"I am proud ... of the way our guys competed," Chadwell said. "We focused on who was there. Those guys got an opportunity against a top team and did some good things. I was proud of the way they competed. Yeah, they messed up some things too."
Florida State paid Charleston Southern $475,000 for the game.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.