The North Carolina Tar Heels are once again ranked among college basketball’s elite teams as the new season is on the verge of tipping-off, but two of their best players may be out for the foreseeable future. Guards P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald will not play in the team’s season opener vs. Oakland as they continue to have their eligibility evaluated by the NCAA, according to the Sporting News:
Authorities twice cited Hairston during the offseason while driving a rental vehicle linked to a felon, raising the possibility of an improper benefits violation.
The school hasn’t specified McDonald’s issue, though UNC had to send a letter this summer ordering a company that makes designer mouth guards to stop using McDonald on a website promoting its brand.
McDonald had made at least one social media post last year about wearing one of the company’s mouth guards. NCAA rules generally prohibit athletes from endorsing or promoting a company or product.
“There are some question marks we don’t have control over…but I really think our team will get better as the season goes along,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said.
“I don’t think our club has felt there is a distracted. The guys who are going to play are practicing and doing well and the guys who aren’t going to play are also practicing really well.”
It will be interesting to see if these suspension swill cause them to miss the Kentucky game, though that game is over a month away.