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North Carolina

Recent scandals at odds with 'Carolina Way'

Posted December 18, 2013

McDonald returns; Hairston outcome expected soon

— Among those present Wednesday night when Leslie McDonald returned to the court for the University of North Carolina were fans and broadcasters who remember when the Tar Heels set the standard for integrity.

That reputation has been tarnished in recent years as reports of athletes indulging in parties, trips, hotels and cash continue to swirl around the program.

First it was the football team. Fourteen players missed some or all of the games played in the 2010 season. The NCAA declared two of them, wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn, permanently ineligible, and UNC kicked a third, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, off the team.

Then the stain spread to academics. When Michael McAdoo sued to get back his football eligibility, among the evidence were class assignments that appeared to have been largely lifted from other sources. A nine-month internal investigation into the Department of African and Afro-American Studies revealed unauthorized grades, forged signatures and other irregularities.

This year, the basketball team is under the microscope after junior guard P.J. Hairston notched three traffic violations during the offseason. In two of those stops he was driving rental cars connected to a Durham party promoter and convicted felon, leading to speculation that use of the vehicles may constitute an impermissible benefit and bring NCAA scrutiny again to Chapel Hill.

Leslie McDonald, a UNC senior, also has ties to the man known as "Fats," but he was allowed to return to the court Wednesday after a nine-game suspension. He was greeted by a standing ovation as he checked into the game.

The NCAA found McDonald accepted "multiple impermissible extra benefits" including access to cars, hotel rooms and a cell phone. 

Longtime Triangle sports writer Barry Jacobs said that up until four years ago, UNC had the reputation of doing things the right way.

"I think it does as much damage to the self-image of the university and its supporters as it does to the image that will be portrayed to recruits and the world at large," he said.

Former UNC star Eric Montross disagreed, saying, "I am absolutely certain that the core integrity of this institution and the programs that represent and have these student-athletes as a part is of them is perfectly solid."

After the game, McDonald said it felt good to be back on the court. "It's truly an honor to be able to play out there and for those fans," he said.

"It was bittersweet because P.J. wasn't there," McDonald said. "It hurts deep down inside that you can't be out there with your family. That's what we call it. My brothers out there, giving their all. And just to be back, I was overjoyed."

The Tar Heels expect to have some clarity on Hairston's issues before the week is out, UNC spokesman Steve Kirschner said after the game.

"The University of North Carolina is working with PJ and his family to settle a few unresolved issues that remain, we expect to have this matter resolved at the end of the week," he said.

That outcome won't take the harsh spotlight off UNC. 

"We all must learn from these situations and avoid the kind of problems that could jeopardize eligibility and our program's success," said UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham. 

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  • The Ramfather Dec 18, 11:21 p.m.

    What a ridiculous article, how can scrutiny be at odds with a great philosophy that espouses teamwork, selflessness, sacrifice, hard work, etc. Really WRAL, find some new writers that know how to question the people making a mess of things, not the philosophy...so let me rewite the title..."Players Not Living Up to The Carolina Way"...there, fixed it for you...

  • JohnnyVoodoo Dec 18, 11:23 p.m.

    Nothing about this story should surprise anyone. The "Carolina Way" has been going on for decades. What makes it a story now is the fact they've been exposed for who and what they really are all about, the big wheels can no longer continue to turn a cheek or sweep things under the rugs any longer. Their ability to run damage control in the past has finally caught up with them and now their simply suffering at the hands of the monster they created. The school, the athletic department, and even tarhole fans are an embarrassement on both a local and national scale.

  • blueridgegrass Dec 18, 11:26 p.m.

    Wow- so surprised WRAL would publish this article Lol- NC state must be having a bad year

  • ABCers Partying Dec 18, 11:30 p.m.

    Who wrote this piece of dog feces? Why don't you put your name on it?

  • JohnnyVoodoo Dec 18, 11:32 p.m.

    Wow- so surprised WRAL would publish this article Lol- NC state must be having a bad year

    — Posted by blueridgegrass

    I'm not sure a six game winning streak for the Pack could be considered a bad year... sorry your feelings are hurt about the tarholes getting embarrassed tonight by the Texas Longhorns..

  • 903 Hook em banned Dec 18, 11:36 p.m.

    just a gentle reminder that UNC's clearly still trying to repair their damaged image...relax UNC fans...

  • YouGotThatRight Dec 18, 11:38 p.m.

    It's all about the exceptionalist attitude. For example: 5 people have been arrested for agent induced crimes so the agent can make a lot of money when the athlete turns pro. At the same time, 2 of the 5 power conferences who wants to give their athletes more goodies have commissioners who are UNC alums. The coach induced wrong doing will have the coach promising high school students more stuff in exchange for a verbal commitment so the coach can win games keep his very high salary and make money for the institution. What are the college coaches doing that is less criminal than what the pro agents are doing? The Carolina Way is about they can and you can't.

  • blueridgegrass Dec 18, 11:41 p.m.

    Wow- so surprised WRAL would publish this article Lol- NC state must be having a bad year

    — Posted by blueridgegrass

    I'm not sure a six game winning streak for the Pack could be considered a bad year... sorry your... View More

    — Posted by JohnnyVoodoo

    Oh your right- that 6 game winning streak included some marquee wins- I forgot.

  • seankelly15 Dec 18, 11:44 p.m.

    When did UNC-CH ever SET THE STANDARD FOR INTEGRITY in sports? When they were consistently not graduating their student athletes? When their student athletes were being arrested for weapons violations, assault and battery and assault with a deadly weapon?

  • tgriffin45 Dec 19, 12:14 a.m.

    How soon we forget that Valvano was fired and had Moo Yoo on probation,,,,State has never been looked up to for anything,,,,,,

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