Hairston's Playing Days End at UNC; McDonald Rejoins Team

P.J. Hairston, who led the Tar Heels in scoring last season and spent this season sidelined, will not return to Carolina’s basketball team.

Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said Friday in a release: “Unfortunately, P.J. made a number of mistakes that placed his eligibility at risk, and the University’s joint review with the NCAA made it clear that seeking reinstatement for P.J. would not be possible.”

Hairston 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. The possession charge and a charge of driving without a license were dropped by a Durham County court in July.

Hairston also was cited for speeding and reckless driving in Rowan County on July 28. In September, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of speeding and an unsafe movement violation and was ordered to pay a $40 fine and court costs.

According to media reports, Hairston has driven multiple vehicles tied to a felon named Haydn “Fats” Thomas.

Coach Roy Williams’72 initially waited on legal outcomes before deciding to suspend Hairston. Then he suspended the player the same day he was ticketed for speeding near Salisbury.

Earlier in the week, Leslie McDonald, who also sat out the first nine games of the season, was cleared to play by the NCAA. McDonald, who has continued practicing with the team, played 22 minutes against Texas Wednesday night.

The NCAA said in a statement that McDonald, a fifth year senior, accepted improper benefits from “numerous individuals” during the spring and summer of 2013, including the use of luxury cars, payment of parking tickets, a cell phone and lodging. McDonald was ordered to repay $1,783 to a charity of his choice; the repayment must be completed before Carolina’s last regular season game March 8.

The NCAA said that it and the University agreed on the facts of the case. The governing body said UNC discovered the rule violations on Oct. 24, and submitted a reinstatement request for McDonald on Dec. 11.

McDonald has played in 100 games for UNC during his career, scoring 581 points. He appeared in 30 games in the 2012-13 season.

“We are certainly glad to have this issue resolved for Leslie,” Williams said. “It has been a terrible time for Leslie and his family and our basketball team. I was very disappointed by Leslie’s actions and he knows this. He has suffered the consequences of his actions and I hope he has learned a lesson that I also hope his teammates recognize.”

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