Carolina MBB Holding Steady at No. 19, Women Stay in Top Ten

CHAPEL HILL– Carolina men’s basketball remains locked in at No. 19 in the latest AP poll released Monday.

Following the Tar Heels’ sloppy win against Northern Kentucky, there was no upward movement for the 9-3 squad nationally.

Arizona remains the top-ranked team in the AP rankings, but undefeated ACC representative Syracuse cut into the Wildcat lead by receiving five first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

The Duke Blue Devils, sporting a 10-2 record, slid up a couple spots to No. 7 this week after their 82-59 win against Eastern Michigan.

Florida State again just missed out on entering the rankings, receiving 24 votes.

And as for the women, the Tar Heels are again holding steady at No. 10 in the AP poll with their 11-2 record. Duke sits at No. 3 in the rankings with a 12-1 mark on the season while undefeated Connecticut unanimously sits atop the lineup, receiving all 36 first-place votes.

View the complete men’s basketball rankings here.

View the complete women’s basketball rankings here.

P.J. Hairston’s Carolina Playing Days Over as UNC Decides Not To Apply For His Reinstatement

CHAPEL HILL–UNC-Chapel Hill will not seek reinstatement from the NCAA for Carolina basketball’s junior guard P.J. Hairston.

Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham says the University made its decision Tuesday, and he notified Hairston Wednesday.

“Unfortunately P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk and the University’s joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible. The University thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball,” Cunningham says.

Hairston already sat out the first 10 games of the season, but now his Carolina basketball playing days are officially over.

“We also want to thank Coach Williams for the way in which he has held the team together over the early stages of this season despite not having two veteran players and for the level of care and concern he has for the young men on his team. We are glad that Leslie McDonald was reinstated and look forward to watching his Tar Heel teammates and him compete the rest of this season,” Cunningham says.

Head Coach Roy Williams was in a somber mood Friday for his weekly press conference initially scheduled to talk about the Davidson game Saturday. But the vast majority of questions centered on the breaking news of Hairston’s situation.

***Listen to Coach Williams on Hairston***

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“I am extremely disappointed for P.J., his family and our team as he will no longer be playing basketball at North Carolina. P.J. made mistakes and I was very disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult consequences. He is not a bad kid; he just made some mistakes,” Coach Williams says.

Coach Williams says he was a bit surprised by the ultimate decision by the University and had little say in the matter. But he says he will continue to support the Greensboro native as he chooses his next steps.

“P.J. has learned from this experience and will continue to grow as a player and adult. I will support him and help him as much as I possibly can as he enters this next phase of his life and basketball career,” Coach Williams says.

Hairston scored 707 points and nailed down 127 three-pointers in 71 games as a Tar Heel. Last year, he led UNC in scoring at 14.6 points per game and made 89 threes, the second-most in Carolina single-season history.

“We all wish this had turned out differently for P.J. and the University. We first learned of this situation back in the summer and getting to this point took a great deal of time because the University, the NCAA and P.J.’s family took great care to learn as many of the facts as were possible to learn. I know everyone, from P.J. and his family, to the basketball team, our fans and the media, wanted this process to play out faster than it did. However, it took the time that was necessary and ultimately came to this difficult conclusion,” Cunningham says.

Duke’s Coach Cutcliffe Named National Coach of the Year

DURHAM — Duke Football head coach David Cutcliffe was named National Coach of the Year by the Walter Camp Foundation on Wednesday.

Cutcliffe led the Blue Devils to a 10-2 record and an ACC Coastal Division title in 2013. His team will face No. 1 Florida State this Saturday in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

This season was Duke’s first winning season since 1994. Their 10 wins is the most any Duke football squad has ever won.

Cutcliffe was also the ACC Coach of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.

The Walter Camp Coach of the Year is chosen by 125 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors across the nation.

UCLA Eliminates UNC Women’s Soccer From NCAAs

CHAPEL HILL - The NCAA quarterfinal matchup between second-ranked UCLA and fifth-ranked North Carolina lived up to its billing Saturday night as the Bruins advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the first time since 2009, beating the Tar Heels 1-0 in double overtime at Fetzer Field.

UNC saw its season end at 20-5 as it lost an NCAA quarterfinal game for the first time in history (26-1-1 in quarterfinal contests).  The Bruins, whose only loss was a 1-0 setback to UNC on September 6, improved to 21-1-2 with their first ever victory over the Tar Heels in nine meetings between the two teams.

It was an evenly played game between the two teams.  Both squads had 11 shots and UCLA had a 4-1 edge in corner kicks.  Katelyn Rowland made four saves while recording the clean sheet for the Bruins.  Anna Sieloff made a career high seven saves in her final game in the Tar Heel uniform.

Taylor Smith scored the game-winning goal for the Bruins on a breakaway in the 102nd minute.  A ball was sent from the midfield line that found Smith in stride behind the UNC defense.  Smith’s initial shot from inside the penalty area was knocked down by Sieloff but the ball pinged directly back to Smith her to poked it inside the right post at 101:31 of the match.

Carolina had to make a defensive adjustment heading into the second overtime as starting defender Katie Bowen was taken off the field in an ambulance with an undisclosed injury with 49 seconds left in the first overtime.  Bowen was conscious and alert when she the field to be taken to UNC Hospitals for further evaluation.

The Bruins flighted their through ball to Smith past the area where Bowen normally patrols the middle of the 4-2-3-1 defensive shape.

Sieloff’s seven saves were two more than she had ever had in a Carolina uniform.  After UNC outshot the Bruins 7-3 in the first half, UCLA had an 8-4 edge in shots after halftime, including a 4-1 edge in overtime.

Carolina’s best chances to score came in the last minute of the first half when Crystal Dunn’s shot from 15 yards was blocked by the Bruin defense, which has allowed only seven goals in 24 games this season.  Kealia Ohai’s shots off a corner kick at 80:39 was the next best chance the Tar Heels had but it just missed the right post.  Dunn, who suffered a high ankle sprain 10 minutes into last Sunday’s match against Texas A&M, was limited to 27 minutes due to the injury.

The College Cup matchups next weekend in Cary, N.C., will feature four teams seeking their first ever NCAA Championships in the sport – Virginia vs. UCLA in one semifinal and Florida State and Virginia Tech in the other semifinal.  Carolina has won 21 of the previous 31 championships and the Cavaliers, Hokies and Seminoles will all be seeking to become the first ACC other than Carolina to win the title.

Carolina will look to rebound in 2014 with a much younger squad, but one expected to still be very athletic.  Saturday night marked the final games for six UNC starters – forward Kealia Ohai, midfielders Crystal Dunn, Meg Morris and Kelly McFarlane, defender Megan Brigman and goalkeeper Anna Sieloff.

UNC Formally Cuts Ties With Former Athletes

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina has sent letters of “permanent disassociation” to former Tar Heels football players Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Robert Quinn for NCAA violations that led to criminal charges against five people for violating the state’s sports agent law.

The letters dated Nov. 15 prohibit the players from contacting current UNC athletes, bar them from the Kenan Football Center or other campus athletic facilities, and prohibit them from providing recruiting or financial assistance for athletics.

The players missed the 2010 season for accepting improper benefits, including cash and travel accommodations. That led to NCAA sanctions against the program and recent charges against five people for violating the state’s Uniform Athlete Agents Act.

The school released the letters Tuesday in response to public-records requests from media outlets.

Men’s Soccer Earns NCAA At-Large Bid, Hosts USF Thursday

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina earned an at-large bid into the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament on Monday, and will host South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Fetzer Field at 7 p.m.

The winner of the UNC-USF match will play 12th-seed UC Irvine on Sunday in Irvine, Calif.

Carolina will be making its 21st NCAA postseason appearance in program history, including 14 of the last 15 seasons. The Tar Heels have hosted at least one postseason match every year since 2000.

UNC, 29-17-6 in NCAA Tournament action, has won the national title in 2001 and 2011, appeared in six College Cups – including four straight from 2008-2011 – and made nine trips to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Last season, the Tar Heels were edged 1-0 by Indiana in the quarterfinals.

Carolina is 8-5-5 this season, finishing tied for fourth in the ACC with a 4-2-5 conference mark. Junior defender Boyd Okwuonu was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-ACC for a second-straight season last week.

Junior keeper Brendan Moore and sophomore defender Jonathan Campbell were named second team All-ACC, while junior defender Jordan McCary was selected to the third team. Midfielder Omar Holness earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team.

North Carolina is one of six ACC clubs in the 48-team field. Notre Dame (3), Maryland (5), Virginia (8) and Wake Forest (14) all earned national seeds. Clemson will play at Elon on Thursday in other first round action.

Tickets are available for $8 for adults and $5 for students and are available at

Chancellor Folt Involved In Hairston Discussion

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Chancellor Carol Folt says the big decisions about athletics that ultimately affect the University come down to the chancellor. These comments were made in a WCHL News Special with Jim Heavner.

“I think it’s ultimately (in) the authority (of) the chancellor,” Chancellor Folt says. “The chancellor is the responsible person. I have pretty strong feelings about that.”

***Listen to Part III of WCHL’s News Special with the Chancellor***

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Chancellor Folt says she’s not going to be involved in the winning and losing of each team. However, she says when it involves the compliance issues and rules or the proper punishment when rules are broken, she needs to be in the mix.

“I don’t try to manage every single part of the budget line, but I certainly am going to talk to people about the way we manage our money” Chancellor Folt says. “I’m going to work with Bubba on the issues, and I’m also going to respect his ability to manage his division. So, it’s a conversation that you have. You talk quite a bit, and you decide where the moment is that (is) your part of that ultimate decision. But, in the end, I have to feel very comfortable about the major decisions that were made.”

UNC basketball’s P.J. Hairston was suspended over the summer after an arrest for possession of marijuana and driving without a license as well as a reckless driving and speeding charge. UNC decided to leave the severity of punishment up to the NCAA; the NCAA has not yet announced how many games Hairston will sit out.

Chancellor Folt says she has been in the conversations surrounding the Hairston situation. She says in any situation, there’s a process that has to be followed to make sure it’s handled properly.

“I would say that Bubba Cunningham would come to me and say, ‘this is the situation; this is my opinion on how to go forward’,” Chancellor Folt says. “And then we would seek opinion of a number of senior leaders depending on that–not down to the details of every NCAA infraction–but when we’re dealing with something that might be a very high-profile issue, or if Bubba has concerns about it, or if we think that this is an important aspect about how Carolina is going to make decisions going forward, I would be involved in it.”

Tune in to the WCHL Morning and Afternoon and Evening News to hear the interview with Chancellor Folt in four parts Monday through Thursday this week.

To read the other articles in this WCHL News Special series with the Chancellor, navigate below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

WSoc: All Four No. 1 Seeds From ACC, Including UNC

CHAPEL HILL - The North Carolina women’s soccer team is in the NCAA Tournament field once again, earning its first No. 1 seed in three years.  The Tar Heels will play host to Big South Conference champion Liberty Saturday at 2 p.m. in the first round of this year’s championship.

North Carolina enters the tournament with a 17-4 overall record while the Flames, who beat Radford in the Big South Conference Tournament final 5-0 on Sunday, is 16-5-1.

Gates to Fetzer Field will open this Saturday at 1 p.m.  Tentative ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for group tickets.

The defending NCAA champion Tar Heels are a No. 1 seed for the first time since 2010.  They won the title a year ago as a No. 2 seed.  All four No. 1 seeds in this year’s tournament come from the ACC – Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State.  Virginia won the ACC regular-season championship and Florida State captured the ACC Tournament.

The marks the second straight year UNC has played the Big South Conference champion in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.  UNC beat Radford 2-0 in Chapel Hill last year in the opening game.

Carolina has won 21 of the previous 31 NCAA championships.  Carolina has been one of the top four seeds in every NCAA Tournament except 2000, 2011 and 2012.

NCAA Finished With AFAM Investigation

CHAPEL HILL – The NCAA tells North Carolina athletic officials that it isn’t considering additional charges connected to academic fraud in the university’s African studies department.

The school on Saturday released two emails from Sept. 26 after a records request.

The first is from UNC senior associate athletic director Vince Ille to NCAA associate director of enforcement Mike Zonder. Ille asked whether he correctly assumed the NCAA wasn’t planning additional investigation or charges of irregularities in the school’s African studies department. Zonder replied that “you are correct in your assessment.”

The NCAA sanctioned UNC for academic misconduct within its football program in March 2012.

The school said that August that the NCAA had reviewed irregularities including no-show classes and unauthorized grade changes in classes with significant athlete enrollments and found no rule violations.

Heels Without Services of Hairston or McDonald Against Pembroke

CHAPEL HILL– UNC will be taking on UNC-Pembroke tonight without the aid of two of their biggest stars.

It was announced Friday afternoon by the UNC Athletic Department that both P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald will be held out of action in the opening exhibition.

Carolina is working with the NCAA to clear up eligibility issues with the pair of student-athletes.

Also, J.P. Tokoto will miss the game tonight. Announced last week, Tokoto will refrain from competition as he played two games in a certified summer league without filing necessary paperwork.