Time has come for UNC to cut Hairston loose
It is becoming very clear it is time for North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and basketball coach Roy Williams to cut ties with P.J. Hairston.
Not because he isn't a very good hoops player. He is. Hairston's arrest and circus surrounding it is becoming another black eye for the school.
The football program is in the midst of a three-year probation and is coming off a postseason ban following an NCAA's investigation into academic fraud and impermissible agent benefits. Even before the probe was completed, the school fired Butch Davis and long-time athletic director Dick Baddour announced his retirement.
Neither were directly linked or tied to the violations, but according to Holden Thorp, the chancellor at the time, UNC had to make these personnel decisions because the school's reputation was damaged.
Thorp became the final scapegoat in the situation, announcing his resignation and accepting the provost job at Washington University in St. Louis.
Just when it appeared North Carolina was moving forward and dealing with the repercussions of the NCAA investigation, Hairston's arrest hit the police blotter and made headlines across the country. And sinking the school's reputation even further.
Unlike the incidents with the football team when players were being flown across the country and provided jewelry by an agent or receiving improper academic assistance, this one involves a convicted felon. Haydn "Fats" Thomas received a suspended sentence in 2006 for obtaining property under false pretense and is facing drug and weapon charges stemming from an arrest in December.
And now Thomas is right in the middle of the latest UNC scandal.
Thomas denied renting the GMC Yukon Hairston was driving when the Tar Heel star was stopped at a license checkpoint in Durham and along with his two passengers were charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Despite Thomas' insisting he and Hairston don't have a relationship, the facts say different. On the night of his arrest, Hairston told police officers he received the Yukon just hours before from Thomas.
Further investigation is beginning to show Thomas may have provided several vehicles for Hairston. In May, Hairston was cited for speeding in a Camaro, which was rented to Catinia Farrington, who shares the same home address as Thomas. In addition, the same car, this time rented by Thomas, was issued two parking tickets on the UNC campus. At least two other vehicles rented by Thomas or Farrington have been ticketed by campus police since February.
Even though there is no concrete proof yet, all signs point to all of these vehicles being driven by Hairston.
Thomas' statements are being discredited almost at the same speed as they are leaving his mouth. And if you can't believe a convicted felon, then who are you supposed to believe.
A report by CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish said the NCAA is expected to investigate the situation and this is the last thing anyone in the UNC administration or athletic department wants or needs at this time.
But because of Hairston, the NCAA will make itself at home in Chapel Hill once again.
The last time the organization visited, three people lost their jobs. While it is hard to see Williams or Cunningham being pushed out the door as Davis and Baddour were, there will have to be someone to pay the price and the perfect candidate is Hairston.