Dear NCAA, Please Deal with P.J. Hairston ASAP
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Did you hear all charges were dropped against P.J. Hairston by the Durham Police? I just thought I'd let you know in case you were waiting for that verdict, because this story is not going away until you weigh in—and can we agree, this story needs to go away.
You've read about this story, right? Hairston, leading scorer at North Carolina, has this odd habit of driving around cars rented by a convicted felon. Roy Williams will tell ya that Eric Prisbell of USA Today has been all over this dadgum thing.
Inside Carolina reported the charges for Hairston, which included driving without a license and misdemeanor marijuana possession, were dropped on July 19. Good reporting by all. The media has really been hustling on this one.
But I was kind of wondering…ummmm…have you been hustling?
Because the last time we heard anything to do with "Hairston" and "the NCAA," you were inquiring about Hairston's relationship with Rodney Blackstock (via The Big Lead). Oh yeah, Prisbell discovered that guy too.
And according to the convicted felon, Haydn "Fats" Thomas, he hasn't heard from you. Thomas and his roommate, according to Prisbell, racked up $15,020.35 on rental cars between Feb. 14 and June 25 at a Hertz location at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. And Hairston was found to be driving at least two of those cars.
In case your head is dizzying trying to follow along, this could be a violation of one of your rules, good ol' bylaw 16.02.3 on extra benefits states. Remember that one?
Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their relatives or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution’s students or their relatives or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.
Now, you might get the impression that I want Hairston to get in trouble with you folks. Honestly, I don't care. I think there's something really fishy behind why a convicted felon—or anyone, for goodness sakes—would spend thousands of dollars on rental cars. That doesn't mean Hairston has broken the law. What I want, what everyone who follows college basketball should want, is for this story to go away.
And we know how you like to drag your feet. Last year, for instance, it took until late December for you to make a final decision on the eligibility of former Texas guard Myck Kabongo for a workout that took place in May.
So, please, please, please, step out of the summer sun and give Thomas a call. Maybe talk to the rental companies. Hook P.J. up to a lie detector if your rules allow it. (Forgive me, it's hard to memorize all your rules.)
I'm tired of this story. I'm tired of writing about this. I'm ready to talk about basketball again.
Give us an answer as soon as humanly possible. Will #PJbebackforKentucky?
An Exhausted CBB Observer
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