Roy Williams says NCAA to have say in length of P.J. Hairston suspension

acarter@newsobserver.comOctober 16, 2013 

— For the first time, North Carolina coach Roy Williams on Wednesday acknowledged that the NCAA will play a role in determining the length of P.J. Hairston’s suspension to start the season.

“Oh, yeah,” Williams said at the ACC’s annual basketball media day when asked whether the NCAA would have a say in how many games Hairston would miss. Williams went on to explain his hesitation in detailing the process that will decide the length of Hairston’s suspension.

“I don’t want to share everything with you, and in your life you don’t want to share everything with me,” Williams said to a group of reporters. “… It’s a team, and we keep things in the locker room.”

Hairston, the junior guard, has been practicing with the Tar Heels. It remains unclear, though, how many games he’ll miss as a result of a summer of transgressions. Williams suspended Hairston indefinitely in late July, after Hairston was charged with reckless driving and speeding.

In June, he was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license – two charges that were later dropped. At the time of his arrest, Hairston was driving a rental car connected to a convicted felon. Hairston also received a speeding ticket in May while driving another rental tied to the same man.

It had been widely assumed that the use of the rental cars could have constituted an impermissible benefit, in which case the NCAA would play a role in deciding Hairston’s punishment. Williams said on Wednesday that Hairston’s status hasn’t changed, but that the length of his suspension would be decided before UNC starts the season on Nov. 8 against Oakland.

“It’s a little unknown because I haven’t gone completely through the process yet,” Williams said.

Asked when Hairston’s suspension would be announced, Williams again said he wasn’t sure of the timetable, but that the uncertainty wouldn’t stretch into the season.

“Well, crap, the NCAA made a decision on Johnny Manziel is freaking two days,” Williams said, referring to the Texas A&M quarterback who received a half-game suspension after being accused of accepting payments for signing memorabilia. “So it’s not all my choice kind of thing.”

Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter

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