Sunday, August 10, 2008

UNC's Jones might practice Monday

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach Butch Davis said he is hopeful that Burlington wide receiver Dwight Jones will be able to practice with the team Monday, after the Tar Heels take Sunday off.
Jones, who spent last week in training camp at Division II Valdosta State, signed scholarship papers with UNC on Friday after it was determined that his academics were judged under the wrong set of criteria — leaving him eligible to play Division I football. The NCAA granted him a waiver that allows him to play this season.
Davis answered questions about Jones and the situation after Saturday’s scrimmage, which was closed to the media after the first five minutes:

REPORTER: Realistically, how much Dwight Jones can contribute, considering he’s missed the first week of training camp?

DAVIS: It’ll be interesting, because certainly Dwight is a very gifted athlete. He played some last year at Hargrave, he’s practiced a couple of days this fall already. There’s a learning curve; he’s going to have to come in and learn formations, personnel groupings and those sorts of things.
But I think the one caveat for any skilled athlete coming in as a freshman – and Dwight would be no different than Zack Brown and Herman Davidson and Quenton Coples – guys that are skilled athletes have an opportunity to figure into a chance to play quicker than, say, an offensive lineman, where it’s so enormously physical, their transition from high school to college. So we’ll see when he gets here. I’m anxious for him to get here, I know the team is anxious to have him as part of our team. And we’ll get him assimilated into the learning part as soon as possible.

REPORTER: Do you expect him to practice on Monday?

DAVIS: Valdosta and their coaching staff and their administration and compliance people have done an excellent job helping navigate through a difficult, touchy thing. When he gets here, he’s got a lot of things he has to do. He has to do a physical, he has to do some of the things that these guys (on the team) have already done. We’ve got to find out exactly, specifically, how many days he did actually practice because of the five days of acclimization all players have got to go through to find out at what day he can go into shells, or can he immediately go into pads. When he gets here, it is our hope that he will be able to practice with us on Monday.

REPORTER: How does an oversight with admissions like that happen, and how was it caught?

DAVIS: …It really wasn’t as much an admissions issue as it was a compliance issue. The NCAA changes rules every year. If you ever look at the NCAA manual, it is mindboggling, the rules and regulations.
And in this particular case, what happened was it slipped through the cracks because of the interpretation.
Because he went to Hargrave, the assumption was that he was an ’08 graduate and (needed) 16 core curriculum courses as opposed an ‘07 graduate – which he actually was – (and needed only 14 core courses).
And all he did was submit a later ACT test score that he took in April that qualified him. We hate it, but it was an oversight. And we’re very, very fortunate that it was corrected and caught. I guess you could say that our personnel department is doing a very good job at looking at the waiver wire and finding guys and picking guys up. … We lost out on the Brett Favee deal, but we got Dwight Jones.