South Florida men’s basketball will get its leading scorer (16.8 points per game) back after an absence of one game.
Senior Will McDonald did not travel with the team to East Carolina, after being charged with false imprisonment and battery early Friday morning.
McDonald will travel with the Bulls and is expected to play in tonight’s matchup against Houston.
“Based on further investigation, and in concurrence with university policy, the athletic department determined that Will McDonald can travel and participate for the men’s basketball team,” said a statement released by the USF athletic department Monday.
The Bulls’ 6-foot-11 center, who lives with his girlfriend, was charged outside their residence at 12:30 a.m.
“According to witnesses, he was seen holding her up against a vehicle and wouldn’t let her go,” said Debbie Carter, a spokesperson for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department.
The victim would not sign a statement or complaint against McDonald.
Holding her against a car warranted the charge for false imprisonment, which is a third-degree felony.
The charge of battery is classified as a misdemeanor.
The charges were in violation of the student-athlete code of conduct, which states that: “In the event that the student-athlete is charged with a felony, absent extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the athletic administration, they will not be permitted to represent the university in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university, and Athletic Department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”
With a case such as this one, the university consults the written policies and the appropriate officials.
“We are in the process of doing some consultations with appropriate individuals on campus, and making any further determinations from there,” USF associate athletic director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy said.
“Coaches are involved as to their input, but the rules are followed. Obviously, we want to listen to (a) coach’s input, but we want to follow the rules as they are written.”
After McDonald bonded out of jail on his own recognizance, his case was sent to the circuit court for a decision on a court date.
McDonald has hired a lawyer to represent him in the upcoming case.
Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com