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.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.