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College basketball

USF star to play despite arrest

By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 28, 2003

TAMPA -- South Florida center Will McDonald, who was arrested Friday and charged with a felony and misdemeanor, has been cleared by the school for Wednesday's game at Houston despite the pending charges.

McDonald, 23, USF's leading scorer and rebounder, did not travel to Saturday's double overtime loss at East Carolina. He was declared eligible in a statement released late Monday:

"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."

According to university policy, a student-athlete charged with a felony cannot represent the university in game competition until the charge is resolved, "absent extraordinary circumstances." Sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the charges against McDonald -- false imprisonment, a felony, and battery, a misdemeanor -- have not been dropped.

McDonald's attorney, George Bedell, asked if he expected the felony charge to be dropped soon, said: "The only thing that I have to add is, we've looked into some aspects of the case, and when it's over I expect that Will will be exonerated."

According to the incident report, McDonald and an ex-girlfriend were "involved in a verbal argument which became violent."

Athletic director Lee Roy Selmon did not return phone calls.

McDonald, a 6-foot-11 senior, started the first 15 games before East Carolina and is averaging 16.8 points and 7.7 rebounds.

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