With the scandal surrounding PJ Hairston, North Carolina’s leading scorer a season ago, growing by the day, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham finally addressed the situation in a statement on Wednesday morning.
“The athletic department compliance staff and I are fully aware of recent media accounts related to our men’s basketball team,” Cunningham said. “We take these matters very seriously and are looking into these reports and the inferences they contain with all due diligence. It is my practice not to comment on the individuals involved or the details surrounding these reports until we have sufficient understanding of the facts involved. We are still gathering information, learning information from other sources, and we will not comment until we have a strong grasp of each individual situation. Where the facts show mistakes in judgment and/or actions, Coach (Roy) Williams will take and I will support the appropriate disciplinary measures.”
Hairston was arrested on June 5th for driving without a license and charged with possession of marijuana. There was also a gun and ammunition found on the ground outside of the car when the arrest was made, but no one has claimed ownership of it and charges have not been brought regarding its possession.
The car that Hairston was driving was a 2013 GMC Yukon that was rented by a convicted felon named Haydn “Fats” Thomas. An investigation by USA Today’s Eric Prisbell has since turned up that Hairston was also pulled over and ticketed for speeding in a 2012 Camaro that was rented by a woman that shares an address with Thomas, and that nine parking tickets have been given to four cars rented by Thomas and his female roommate since February. They pair have spent more than $15,000 on rental cars during that time.
“The integrity of the University of North Carolina is of paramount concern to all of us and is the principle on which Coach Williams and the athletic department operate each and every day,” Cunningham added. “The most responsible course of action, however, is to withhold judgment and comment until we are confident we have the facts to do so. I appreciate everyone’s understanding of that and we will bring these matters to resolution as soon as possible.”
Williams declined to comment to a TV station that caught up with him on the street yesterday.
According to a report from Yahoo’s Pat Forde on Wednesday, the NCAA has not yet begun digging into the relationship between Hairston and Thomas or the rental cars, but they are looking into the relationship between Hairston and an agent named Rodney Blackstock, who was linked to Ben McLemore in a story from Prisbell earlier this spring.
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