The NCAA has ruled on the UNC case, but unfortunately for those hoping that they Tar Heels will finally face the music for their questionable course offerings for athletes, this ruling is only tangentially tied to academics.
You see, the NCAA has a rule in place that says teams cannot travel to a road game more than 48 hours before tipoff. But on Nov. 16th, when UNC plays at Long Beach State, tipoff isn’t until 11 p.m. EST. That means that by the letter of the law, the Tar Heels wouldn’t be allowed to leave for the game until 11 p.m. on the 14th, which is a Wednesday.
Now, Roy Williams wants to leave at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, six hours before he’s allowed to. That’s the time of the last commercial flight out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. He’s appealed the NCAA about it twice, and both times they’ve told him no.
Here’s the funny part: those six hours the NCAA is holding the Tar Heels hostage over? They won’t affect the amount of class time that the UNC players attend. No matter what happens, they’ll be absent from their Thursday and Friday classes. And whether they leave at 5 p.m. or 11 p.m., every UNC player will finish their course load for the day on Wednesday. The only thing those six hours do is force UNC to spend $120,000 on a charter flight out west.
“You’re telling me we have to spend $120,000?,” an obvious fired up Williams said to ESPN’s Andy Katz. “Last year, we played the Carrier Classic game [in San Diego]. It was well-publicized on an aircraft carrier and one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. The president of the United States comes to the game, and we were able to leave at 11 a.m. on Wednesday for a game at 4 p.m. on Friday. We didn’t go to any classes on Wednesday. This year we would go to class Wednesday.”
You hear that?
When the President’s going to be in attendance, that 48-hour rule no longer matters.
Maybe Williams should send an invite to the Oval Office.