Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE
If you want yet another example of the absolute stupidity of some NCAA rules, allow me to present the "48-hour travel" rule.
According to UNC coach Roy Williams, the NCAA will not waive the rule that prevents a team from traveling to a road game more than 48 hours before tipoff.
Williams told ESPN.com at ACC media day Wednesday that the Heels have been denied in two attempts to overturn the waiver so it can leave for a Long Beach State game on the last commercial flight at 5 p.m. out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which would allow the team to get to Southern California on Nov. 14.
The plan was to go to classes Wednesday and then fly out, Williams said. The alternative, he said, would be for the Tar Heels to pay $120,000 for a charter flight.
On Nov. 16, North Carolina plays LBSU at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU before playing at the Maui Invitational starting Nov. 19.
"We will be at classes all day on Wednesday, but there are no flights after 5 p.m. Wednesday night," Williams said. "The earliest we could leave [for the 48-hour rule] would be 11 p.m. Wednesday night, but there aren't flights then. Either we pay the $120,000 for a charter or we leave early Thursday morning, which means we won't go to class anyway.
So, UNC wants to take the last available commercial flight out of RDU on Wednesday at 5:00 PM. The problem is that would be six hours too early according to an NCAA rule which stipulates schools cannot travel more than 48 hours before the tipoff of a game. That leaves UNC with two choices. The team can leave at 11:00 PM Wednesday night on a charter jet which will cost the school $120,000 or take a flight early Thursday morning. Anyone who has traveled to the west coast from the east coast can tell you both those options suck.
Williams also points out that last year when UNC traveled to San Diego for the Carrier Classic, the NCAA had no trouble waiving the rule. The Heels left at 11 AM on Wednesday and did not play until 7 PM on the east coast. It is not clear why the NCAA is treating this situation differently nor why such a rule needs to exist at all. I suppose the NCAA is trying ensure schools don't pull players away from class too much by attempting to arrive at a game site too far ahead of time. However, when you are talking about traveling three time zones and the need to adjust to that, the 48-hour rule seems idiotic.
Okay, it doesn't seem idiotic. It is idiotic.