No Update on Hairston and McDonald

Jamie Squire

Roy Williams addressed the media in his weekly press conference and as expected there were no updates on the status of P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald. UNC has ruled both players out for the Friday game against Holy Cross with no timetable on when their eligibility issues might be resolved.

Outside of a few bread crumbs from USA Today's Eric Prisbell, there really isn't much else known about what stage UNC and the NCAA are at in this process.

Couple that tweet with Inside Carolina's examination of Roy Williams' shifting public stance on Hairston and McDonald's issues, it stands to reason that whatever expectation UNC had for imminent resolution has now evaporated.

As Prisbell indicated, something changed in the past week or two that has altered that outlook and delayed a final resolution of the matter. It is unclear what this development is but if it calls into question Hairston's original testimony to the NCAA then it's possible this affair has moved beyond improper benefits and into the realm of an ethical conduct violation which the NCAA defines as this:

Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member (e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may inc lude, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual's institution
...

(d) Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual's institution false or misleading information concerning the individual's involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation

Anyone who has paid attention to the history of NCAA cases with individual players knows that lying to or withholding information from the NCAA brings stiffer penalties than taking thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits. It is part and parcel with how the NCAA maintains some semblance of leverage against student-athletes without having subpoena power.

Similarly, the specter of vacated wins is another pressure point the NCAA uses to ensure schools sit potentially ineligible players until a final decision is rendered. UNC has no choice but to keep both Hairston and McDonald off the court until the eligibility concerns are addressed. That leads to a seemingly interminable wait not unlike what was endured during the 2010 football season when the status of multiple Tar Heel players was in limbo for several games. The absence of reliable information and the utter unpredictably of the NCAA makes this tantamount to waiting at the DMV office without knowing what number you are and what number is next. The frustration reaches a point where the desire for resolution begins to outweigh any other consideration.

For Roy Williams the frustration is two-fold. The uncertainty is clearly an issue but also not having Hairston on the court also appears to be a source of great disappointment. When asked which player was best in practice Williams answered with palatable exasperation: "By far the most impressive player in practice is P.J. Hairston. It's not even close." It is obvious Williams wants this ordeal to be done and he wants Hairston on the court. When and if that happens continues to be a complete mystery.

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