The action comes after the school self-reported secondary violations to the NCAA.
Quarterback Chazz Surratt, who started seven games for North Carolina, is one of the players suspended.
Nine of the players were suspended for four games, and that group includes Surratt, offensive lineman Brian Anderson, defensive end Malik Carney, wide receiver Beau Corrales, defensive end Tomon Fox, defensive end Tyrone Hopper, offensive lineman Quiron Johnson, linebacker Malik Robinson and offensive lineman Jordan Tucker.
Defensive backs Greg Ross and Tre Shaw must sit out two games, and quarterback Jack Davidson and offensive lineman Jonah Melton will serve a one-game suspension.
The NCAA will allow North Carolina to stagger the suspensions so they all won't be suspended for the same games.
Carney will miss games against East Carolina, UCF, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Fox will serve his suspension against Miami, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech.
The rest will begin to serve their suspensions in the Tar Heels' season opener against California.
"I am certainly upset by our players' actions and how their choices reflect on them, our program, and the University," head coach Larry Fedora said in a statement. "These young men knew the rules and are being held responsible for the poor choices they have made."
The suspended players will be allowed to practice with the team and attend meetings.
In January, 15 players on the Tar Heels' football team sold school-issued sneakers for as much $2,500 in cash, according emails obtained by The (Raleigh) News & Observer in a public records request.