NCAA Reinstates UNC’s Leslie McDonald


by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33

North Carolina’s only scholarship senior has been reinstated by the NCAA and is eligible to suit up for the 14th-ranked Tar Heels as soon as possible.

Guard Leslie McDonald has missed all nine of North Carolina’s games this season due to an NCAA investigation into him receiving impermissible benefits, but is eligible to play tonight when UNC hosts Texas. As a junior last season, McDonald averaged 7.2 points in 17.7 minutes per game for the Tar Heels.

From The Fayette Observer:

According to the NCAA release, McDonald received “benefits from numerous individuals during the spring and summer of 2013. These benefits included the use of luxury cars, payment of parking tickets, a cell phone and lodging.”

North Carolina discovered the rule violations on Oct. 24 and requested McDonald be reinstated on Dec. 11. After working with the school, the NCAA officially cleared McDonald on Tuesday.

“He has suffered the consequences of his actions and I hope he has learned a lesson that I also hope his teammates recognize,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “Leslie has been a sensational teammate and worked hard in practice to help our team. He understands what he has already lost and wants to really enjoy this second chance.”

While this is certainly a great piece of news for the Tar Heels, there still is no word on the status of junior guard PJ Hairston. The team’s leading scorer has also missed every game this season due to an NCAA investigation over him receiving impermissible benefits, and some believe he may not play at all this season.