Williams: ‘Serious consequences’ for Hairston
Promising “serious consequences” for “serious mistakes,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams issued his first official statement Monday since rising junior P.J. Hairston was arrested almost six weeks ago.
Williams said that a suspension has been discussed. Still, he stopped short of specifying what action he would take with the Tar Heels’ leading scorer from the 2012-13 season.
“There are several options available in terms of discipline, but we are going to wait until the process is complete to decide on those options,” Williams said in a school release.
Hairston was arrested at a license check on June 5 and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving without a license.
Police also found a handgun, ammunition and a larger amount of marijuana outside of the car, but announced last week that it did not anticipate filing further charges against Hairston and two passengers, Durham residents Miykael Faulcon and Carlos Sanford. All three are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 6.
“P.J. and I have had several discussions already, and he knows he has made serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result,” Williams said.
Williams said that he has time to weigh his options since Hairston currently is not enrolled in summer school and the season doesn’t start until November. But the coach likely won’t be the only party deciding Hairston’s punishment — the NCAA also may get involved.
At the time of his arrest, Hairston was driving a luxury SUV that was rented by Durham resident Haydn “Fats” Thomas, a convicted felon who is due in court again today on drug and gun charges.
Three weeks before that incident, Hairston was pulled for speeding in a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro that was rented by Catinia Farrington, who listed Thomas’ address on the receipt.
If Hairston was given free use of the rentals because of his status as an athlete, it likely would be ruled an impermissible benefit by the NCAA, and he would be suspended for a portion of the season depending on the value of the gift.
Thomas was charged $1,261 for a three-day rental of the 2013 Yukon SUV, while Farrington rented the Camaro from April 25 to June 17 and was charged $3,249. Thomas and Farrington have rented four vehicles since February that have received a combined nine parking tickets on UNC’s campus, though it is not clear who was driving them at the time.
Hairston’s NCAA penalty would increase if Thomas was connected to an agent.
“Other issues have been written about recently that are disturbing and bother me deeply,” Williams said. “Our basketball program is based on great ideals, and these issues are embarrassing. These are not common in my 10 years as head coach at UNC, and they will all be dealt with harshly and appropriately at the correct time to ensure that our program will not be compromised.”
Williams’ statement came five days after athletic director Bubba Cunningham issued a statement in which he said he would support disciplinary measures against unnamed individuals “where the facts show mistakes in judgment and/or actions.”
Hairston is the first basketball player to be arrested since 2009, when Ty Lawson pled guilty to underage drinking and driving and was not suspended by the team.
Both Hairston and Lawson were arrested in the summer after their sophomore year, and both players considered leaving for the NBA before deciding to return.
Hairston’s arrest is an embarrassing episode for the school’s trademark program, which so far has been spared from the violations and improper behavior that previously surrounded the football team.
“We will care about each individual, but there will be serious actions taken that will fix these issues,” Williams said. “I take pride in our values and how we have conducted ourselves for a long time here at Carolina, and this time will pass but it will be dealt with strongly.”