North Carolina's Leslie McDonald cleared to play, P.J. Hairston's future still in limbo

Streeter Lecka

The ongoing eligibility saga is over for at least 1/2 of North Carolina's inactive guards.

North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald has been cleared to play immediately by the NCAA, while the status of fellow inactive guard P.J. Hairston is still up in the air.

McDonald, who sat out the first nine games of the season while the NCAA looked into allegations that he received impermissible benefits, will have repay $1,783 to a charity of his choice.

"McDonald accepted benefits from numerous individuals during the spring and summer of 2013," the NCAA said in a release. "These benefits included the use of luxury cars, payment of parking tickets, a cell phone and lodging. McDonald must complete the repayment of impermissible extra benefits before the last regular season game, as this is his final season of eligibility."

The news is far less positive for Hairston, who is unlikely to play this season, according to a report by Yahoo Sports.

Hairston has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since June 5, when he and two passengers were arrested after being pulled over for speeding. During the traffic stop, police found a half-ounce of marijuana, a 9-millimeter handgun and a magazine with nine rounds of ammunition in the vehicle.

The case then took another twist when it was revealed that the car Hairston was arrested in was a rental under the name of Haydn Thomas, a convicted felon. Thomas claimed he doesn't know Hairston, and that Miykael Faulcon, one of the passengers arrested with Hairston, had borrowed the car. This brought the NCAA into the equation.

Hairston was a starter and North Carolina's leading scorer as a sophomore last season, averaging 14.5 points per game. McDonald averaged 7.2 ppg coming off the bench.

The Tar Heels head into Wednesday night's game against Texas with a 7-2 record and ranked No. 14 in the latest Associated Press Top 25.

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