UNC wants waiver; NCAA doesn't bend

October, 18, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NCAA is keeping an eye on the University of North Carolina over an academic scandal. The organization hasn't moved officially on the matter, and it's unclear if or when it will.

Well, there is another matter involving the Tar Heels -- on a much smaller scale -- that the NCAA has acted on.

According to UNC coach Roy Williams, the NCAA will not waive the rule that prevents a team from traveling to a road game more than 48 hours before tipoff.

Williams told ESPN.com at ACC media day Wednesday that the Heels have been denied in two attempts to overturn the waiver so it can leave for a Long Beach State game on the last commercial flight at 5 p.m. out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which would allow the team to get to Southern California on Nov. 14.

The plan was to go to classes Wednesday and then fly out, Williams said. The alternative, he said, would be for the Tar Heels to pay $120,000 for a charter flight.

On Nov. 16, North Carolina plays LBSU at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU before playing at the Maui Invitational starting Nov. 19.

"We will be at classes all day on Wednesday, but there are no flights after 5 p.m. Wednesday night," Williams said. "The earliest we could leave [for the 48-hour rule] would be 11 p.m. Wednesday night, but there aren't flights then. Either we pay the $120,000 for a charter or we leave early Thursday morning, which means we won't go to class anyway.

"So you're telling me we have to spend $120,000? 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."

Williams said the 48-hour rule shouldn't apply to a game three time zones away, pointing out that the Tar Heels haven't gone on a charter for a road game west of St. Louis since he has been at UNC.

So do the Tar Heels have a charter booked?

"No," said Williams. "I'm raising cane to get another appeal. It's silly. We're not going to class on Thursday, so why not let us go Wednesday night? What do the student-athletes gain by staying from 5 to 11 p.m.? What we lose is $120,000 by going charter.

"This is ridiculous. There needs to be common sense. We can't leave at 11 p.m. Otherwise we have to leave Thursday and play a game Friday across the country. It just doesn't make sense."

Less than four weeks from the Tar Heels' first road trip of the season, UNC doesn't have plane tickets as Williams awaits, or at least hopes for, a possible third appeal for a waiver.

"It's just ridiculous," he said.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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