December 20, 2013
CHAPEL HILL (AP) — P.J. Hairston’s career is over at North Carolina.
The school said Friday that it won’t seek Hairston’s reinstatement from the NCAA after the junior committed several rule violations. Hairston hasn’t played all season while the school and NCAA worked to resolve eligibility questions, many stemming from the use of cars linked to a felon and party promoter in Durham earlier this year.
Hairston has practiced with the team and has been on the bench for home games.
The NCAA cleared senior Leslie McDonald to return earlier this week after he missed the first nine games due to receiving improper benefits in a related case.
In a statement, UNC coach Roy Williams said he was “extremely disappointed” for Hairston, his family and team.
“P.J. made mistakes and I was very disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult consequences,” Williams said. “He is not a bad kid. He just made some mistakes.”
Hairston led the team in scoring last year at about 15 points per game while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. The 6-foot-5 swingman decided to return for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft in the spring, but ultimately never made it back on the court for the Tar Heels.
Authorities twice cited him during the offseason while driving rental vehicles linked to Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas of Durham to raise the possibility of an improper benefits violation. The school’s announcement didn’t spell out the specific violations, only that there were several.
“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 from P.J. would not be possible,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “The university thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball.”
The No. 14 Tar Heels are coming off an 86-83 home loss to Texas, though McDonald scored 15 points and hit four 3-pointers in his return to the lineup. North Carolina plays Davidson on Saturday.