P.J. Hairston not reinstated at North Carolina

P.J. HairstonP.J. Hairston will not be a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels this season after the team decided against asking the NCAA to reinstate the ineligible guard.

Hairston was the leading scorer for the university last season, but several off-season violations led to him getting into trouble with the NCAA. The 20-year old, along with senior guard Leslie McDonald were cited over the summer for driving at speed in rental cars belonging to felon Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas. The citations from authorities led to allegations of improper benefits issues by the NCAA and Hairston´s future has been in doubt since.

McDonald was reinstated to the North Carolina team after being cleared to play; he has missed the first nine games of the season. However, Hairston (who has also sat out the first nine games of the campaign) will not be reinstated, with doubts raised over the evidence provided by the player.

“We tried to do everything we could possibly do to get both kids back playing,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said… We had enough information that we all agreed upon with the university and the NCAA to submit reinstatement for Leslie, but we just didn’t have it for P.J.

Unfortunately P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk and the University’s joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible… The University thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball.”

Head Coach Roy William described the episode as the “saddest thing” he has had to go through as a coach, while he also described Hairston as “not a bad kid, he just made mistakes”. P.J. Hairston led the way in scoring for the Tar Heels last season and was building a reputation as a strong outside shooter. NBA franchises have kept tabs on him and he even flirted with the league during the summer before opting to stay in North Carolina.

The player will now assess his options for the future after finding out he will not feature for N.C. again. His family expressed their disappointment at the finding in a statement released yesterday,

“We are displeased with the University of North Carolina’s decision not to submit the necessary paperwork to the NCAA requesting to have P.J. reinstated,” Hairston’s family said. “This process has been long, and for to end without having a final decision from the governing body is a shame. Ultimately this affects P.J., and his eligibility to play Division 1 collegiate basketball for the remainder of this season, as well as next season.

Despite our disappointment, we wish the team continued success.”

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