North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham spoke with UNC faculty members on Wednesday on the upcoming basketball season. As this ESPN report details, Cunningham said that suspended guard P.J. Hairston would be playing next season, although he would miss some games. He did not specify how many games Hairston would miss.
Hairston has been in news headlines for all the wrong reasons this summer. He was suspended indefinitely by head coach Roy Williams following his arrest for a misdemeanor marijuana charge that was eventually dropped. He was also arrested for speeding and reckless driving in July. The NCAA is also investigating his involvement with Haydn Thomas, a convicted felon who rented the vehicle Hairston was in at the time of the marijuana arrest.
Hairston's eligibility likely makes the Tar Heels a top-15 team. North Carolina's non-conference schedule is loaded, with showdowns against Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky looming in late November through mid-December. It would seem Hairston would be able to play by then, though coach Williams could elect to send a strong message instead by benching his leading scorer.