The former Oklahoma wide receiver had his eligibility appeal denied on Wednesday by the NCAA subcommittee on legislative relief, which ruled that no single event happened that allowed McCay to qualify for a waiver to play in 2012 under personal hardship guidelines.
McCay transferred to Kansas at the semester to be closer to family in suburban Kansas City. Although the details of his hardship never have been made public, coach Charlie Weis had remained optimistic that McCay would be allowed to play immediately for the Jayhawks.
"I'm extremely disappointed that common sense did not prevail," Weis said. "I have read all of the information on this case and it is a shame that this case resulted in a rejection."
McCay won't be eligible to play until 2013, when he'll be a junior.
Weis again refused to discuss the details of McCay's case, citing privacy laws, but voiced his frustration with the way the eligibility hearing was handled by the NCAA.
The ruling body considered McCay's appeal weeks ago, but decided on technical grounds that only the subcommittee on legislative relief could rule in his favor. Weis said the NCAA strongly encouraged the school to make the appeal.
"I can only say that the University of Kansas felt the evidence was overwhelmingly in his favor," Weis said. "I also do not understand why the NCAA had us appeal to the subcommittee only to have received the same answer with the same rationale."
The decision marks a significant blow to the Jayhawks, who have received a massive infusion of talent via four-year transfers since Weis took over for the fired Turner Gill.
Crist, a former Notre Dame quarterback, and several other players are eligible to compete this fall because they've graduated from their previous institutions. Heaps, a former BYU signal-caller, must sit out the upcoming season under normal NCAA transfer guidelines.
"This is a very disappointing day for me and my family," McCay said. "I was very hopeful throughout the process that I would receive a more favorable result, but unfortunately that is not how things turned out."
McCay redshirted at Oklahoma in 2010, which means he'll lose a year of eligibility by having to sit out this season. He played sparingly for the Sooners last season because of injuries.
McCay would have provided a valuable deep threat for Crist, but the team still has plenty of depth at wide receiver. D.J. Beshears, Daymond Patterson and Kale Pick are all experienced, and Chris Omigie and JaCorey Shepherd showed playmaking ability during last Saturday's spring game.
"Despite the disappointment I am feeling today, I have no regrets," McCay said. "I am very happy to be at Kansas and I am going to go out and work hard every day to be the best teammate I can be. Even though I won't be playing in games this year, I am going to take advantage of every opportunity I have to improve as a player."