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Heels Sticking With Hairston

August 22, 2013

Though North Carolina Tar Heels head basketball coach Roy Williams has been staying mute on the subject, his boss has not been. Last week, Tar Heels athletic director Bubba Cunningham took some questions regarding Hairston and let it be known that the troubled forward will be back on the team some time during the 2013-14 season.

Hard telling if that is shocking or welcomed news for North Carolina fans. Hairston is currently indefinitely suspended. Williams suspended Hairston in late July after he was caught speeding, his third run-in with police this offseason.

Now that it looks like Hairston will be wearing Carolina Blue again this season, the new question becomes, when will Williams decide on a time line for Hairston? How many games will he be out?

In this age of college suspensions, one can usually take a look at the schedule and likely make an accurate guess as to how long suspensions will be. Let me be among the many who think that Hairston will be playing by December 4th when UNC plays Michigan State. That would mark a five game suspension. Certainly, Hairston will be back by December 14th when the Heels play Kentucky.

I have heard from some North Carolina fans that Hairston should be suspended for one season. I guess the thinking there is that he would be given a second chance but would have to prove he could stay out of trouble for a year.

While I am not a Heels’ fan, I am all for the one-year suspension. Can you imagine the negative publicity if Hairston gets in trouble again? Cunningham was hired to clean things up at Chapel Hill. Is he really going to risk his reputation on the decision making ability of a kid like Hairston?

P J Hairston

Thus far, it seems all that Hairston has learned from all his misdeeds is that he can do whatever he wants and he will just get yet another chance.

Hairston II

The only thing that might change Cunningham’s current thoughts on P.J. Hairston is the NCAA. Due to some of the information coming out of Hairston’s run-ins with law enforcement, you know the NCAA has to be conducting some sort of investigation.

It is widely known that Hairston was caught and cited for allegedly doing 93 miles per hour in a 65 MPH zone while driving a female friend’s car. This citation came just days after Hairston had all charges against him dropped related to a June 5th arrest in which he and two other men were stopped and seized after marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found in the 2013 GMC Yukon Hairston was driving.

It is also known that Hairston was not the owner of the Yukon. It was rented, reportedly by a man named Haydn “Fats” Thomas. What is not widely known is that Thomas is an ex-convict. That was the second of Hairston’s run-ins with the law this offseason. The first came in early May, when Hairston was stopped while reportedly driving a rented 2012 Chevy Camaro. The car was in the name of a woman who reportedly shares a mailing address with Thomas.

This kind of pattern naturally caused suspicion to float UNC’s way. What was the basketball program’s star player doing driving rented cars to begin with, and why was an ex-convict involved? Star player driving rented cars tied to a man who’s seen jail time. Do you see the red flags here? Some might say yes. Reason for further investigation? Reason for North Carolina to put in a call and try to contact Thomas? Apparently not. USA Today reported Monday that neither UNC nor the NCAA have reached out to Thomas about his relationship with Hairston or anyone at UNC.

It is also been reported that Thomas had nine rental cars in his name ticketed on UNC’s campus this year. There are also reports have him being photographed with former UNC athletes before. Sounds like Williams and Cunningham do not want to know what Thomas has been doing on campus.

Sorry to say it, but this sounds more like a University of Miami story. Never thought I would be making a comparison like that. Stay tuned.

Knees Over Heads

Another preseason injury made headlines last weekend when it was learned that Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller will miss the entire season with a knee injury he suffered after taking a hit from Texans’ rookie safety D.J. Swearinger.

When questioned after the game, Swearinger made a statement that he hit Keller low to avoid a fine. After reading the statement, it actually makes a great deal of sense. I do find it ironic, if not for NFL and NCAA rules on hits to the head area, Keller would likely be preparing for the upcoming season this week instead of recovering from surgery.

Dustin Keller

Current rules say that tacklers can’t hit high. It only makes sense that the repercussions of the new rules will include several more leg injuries. I have been reading statements from players all week about how they would rather deal with a concussion over a leg injury. It is universally known that one can come back from a concussion in a few weeks while blowing out your knee will likely cost you one year.

Surely, the NFL knew this. They are choosing knee injuries over brain injuries. One can hardly blame them for that. Especially with the huge class action law suit from former players pending.

So, get ready for stretcher and cart to grace football fields all over the country this fall.

NCAA Saves Face

OMG...the NCAA is capable of doing the right thing. And quickly. What it did was to correct the situation of Middle Tennessee’s Steven Rhodes, a Marine who served for five years. Rhodes was initially ruled ineligible because he and some fellow Marines played some pickup games while serving. The ruling became national news and went viral within social media.  Less then 12 hours after the original ruling, the NCAA reversed course and corrected the situation.

So Rhodes, a walk-on, is back on in his dream of playing college football. I, for one, will be monitoring how he and Middle Tennessee State do this season. The attention gained from the NCAA’s original decision put Rhodes and the school on the map. No matter how they do, his service to this country will now be honored properly.

The situation also highlights the need for the NCAA to really get a grip on handbook and make some common sense changes sooner than later.



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