The news from this morning seemed to confirm everything we’ve suspected for weeks.
No, not that Canada got a new future king or that the United Kingdom’s heir apparent is now a grandfather, even though both of those are funny to me, and unfortunate to the parties involved.
Personally, the less I hear about this baby, the better. Until they teach him to tricks like conquering France or doing backflips or something, there just isn’t anything all that interesting.
The real news story for Kentucky fans is this: P.J. Hairston won’t face any legal trouble for his June arrest.
You read the post, you made your comment, and it’s the same thought I had: Somehow we knew this was coming. If nothing else, we pride ourselves on getting “picked on.” And a lot of times (not all the time), we do get picked on. Especially with Cal as our coach. But we just knew that, because this was North Carolina, that Hairston would “get away with it,” and for a few hours this morning, it looked like he had.
But Eamonn Brennan is quick to point out that Hairston’s legal issues were the least of UNC’s concerns. They matter a lot to Hairston himself, sure, but strangely enough, it’s largely irrelevant to the NCAA. What really matters is the source of the rental car(s) that Hairston had been associated with.
The biggest concern for North Carolina was not the actual legal incident itself, but the connections to Haydn “Fats” Thomas, the aforementioned convicted felon whose name and address popped in Hertz rental receipts obtained by USA Today in July. … [It’s] unclear whether the NCAA is already actively investigating the situation. Given enforcement precedent, it would be shocking if that were not the case.
Charges or no charges, those cars were still rented to Thomas’ address, and that’s what will earn the NCAA’s attention. For an athletics program already mired in three years of football mess and widespread suspicion over its role in academic scandal, the idea of an NCAA investigation into potential improper benefits provided to its star player by a well-known local felon is the real nightmare. That process would be long and arduous and unforgiving, and carries the possibility — however remote — of serious penalties against one of the college game’s marquee programs.
So while Hairston himself seems to be legally off the hook for the alleged infractions, the Tar Heel program isn’t even close to being out of the woods yet. This shouldn’t incite a witch hunt against UNC (although if it does I have extra pitchforks), but it does put a little bit of temperance on what might be perceived as an outrageous situation. P.J. might be back for Kentucky, but he’s not back yet. We’ll see how the NCAA handles his case, independent of the North Carolina judicial system.