Basketball star P.J. Hairston has been suspended from the team indefinitely by coach Roy Williams ’72 after another run-in with the law.
Hairston, who saw charges of marijuana possession and unlicensed driving dropped by a Durham County court in mid-July, was cited for speeding and reckless driving in Rowan County on July 28. Media reports said Hairston was driving a 2008 Acura and was caught driving 93 mph in a 65-mph zone on I-85 outside Salisbury.
According to USA Today, the Acura is registered to a 21-year-old woman, Randi Lee Furr, who has referenced Hairston as her boyfriend.
On Sept. 4, Hairston pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of speeding and an unsafe movement violation and was ordered to pay a $40 fine and court costs.
Hairston averaged 14.6 points in 34 games as a sophomore last season and is considered a professional prospect. Until the recent flurry of news reports and Williams’ decision to suspend him, Hairston had been expected to be a key to the Tar Heels’ success in the coming season.
He was arrested June 5 at a traffic checkpoint in Durham and charged along with two other men in the car with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Police also found a 9 mm handgun and an ammunition magazine containing nine rounds near the car. No charges have been filed related to the gun.
On Aug. 6, one of his companions was given six months unsupervised probation, with a stipulation that the charge be dropped if he completes 10 hours community service and a drug assessment program. The other passenger had his case continued to Oct. 29, according to The Associated Press.
Hairston, 20, still could have issues related to the rented GMC Yukon he was driving at the time of the drug arrest. A month after the arrest, USA Today reported that the SUV was rented by a felon named Haydn “Fats” Thomas, who at first told the newspaper he had no ties to Hairston and subsequently told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he knew UNC athletes, but he declined to elaborate. Thomas said he had loaned the vehicle to Miykael Faulcon, 20, one of the two other men arrested on June 5.
The N&O subsequently reported that it had obtained an unredacted copy of the police report that said Thomas had rented the vehicle for Hairston. That could be an impermissible benefit under NCAA rules.
USA Today reported on July 6 that Hairston had a previous incident in a rental car — a citation for speeding on May 13 while driving a Chevrolet Camaro SS that was rented to a woman who shares a Durham address with Thomas.
The UNC athletics department and the basketball program reserved comment until July 15, when Williams issued a statement that read in part:
“I initially decided not to make a statement about PJ [Hairston] until the legal process had been finalized. I believe that is the fair way that everyone should be treated and is the way of our country.”
Williams said then that he had considered a suspension. Hairston was suspended the same day he was ticketed for speeding near Salisbury.