UNC would understandably like to keep the focus on the basketball court, but PJ Hairston's situation is making it hard to do that.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered - UNC seems to be repeating their football mistake and not getting to the bottom of things quickly - and most recently, the guy who rented both cars Hairston was in, Haydn "Fats" Thomas, had ties not just with Hairston but also with Leslie McDonald and former UNC star John Henson. He also appears to have had a relationship with Duke football player Desmond Scott, although it's worth noting that Scott is from Durham and could have had a pre-existing relationship with Thomas. Durham, in ways that many at Duke never fully realize, in many ways retains the character of a very small town.
Amazingly, given that UNC's woes started with a tweet, no one seemed to notice that McDonald tweeted that Thomas had given him a phone.
Again, there are two levels of reality here. In the real world, phones are essential yet cheap, at times disposable. From the NCAA point of view, though, it's likely to be an unacceptable benefit.
One of the reporters following this case, USA Today's Eric Prisbell, says UNC needs to make a statement.
Final note: although it's likely cleaned up already, someone edited Hairston's Wikipedia entry to read thusly:
In the summer of 2013, Hairston became involved in a scandal in which he allegedly received impermissible benefits from a Durham, NC, area felon known as Hayden "Fats" Thomas. On more than one instance, he was stopped by police while driving rental cars provided by Thomas and his living partner, Cateinia Harrington.Â .
These revelations have, understandably, caused a great deal of "butt-hurt" amongst the UNC-CHeat fan base as they witnessed the now defunct "Carolina Way" crumble before their misty and glazed over eyes. Some "Wal-Mart fans" have been placed on 24 hour suicide watch. To seem, rather than to be.Â