P.J. Hairston will not return to North Carolina

P.J. Hairston's career as a Tar Heel has come to a close. He's projected as an NBA player. (USATSI)
P.J. Hairston's career as a Tar Heel has come to a close. He's projected as an NBA player. (USATSI)

The University of North Carolina will play its 2013-14 campaign without one second of contribution from P.J. Hairston. The junior forward has been suspended to this point amid an NCAA investigation into rental cars he drove in the offseason, rental cars connected to an ex-convict.

On Friday the school announced it would not seek reinstatement for Hairston, meaning his career at the school is officially over. The announcement comes two days after fellow Tar Heel Leslie McDonald was cleared to play following an investigation by the NCAA.

"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," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "The University thanks him for his contributions to Carolina Basketball. We also want to thank Coach Williams for the way in which he has held the team together over the early stages of this season despite not having two veteran players and for the level of care and concern he has for the young men on his team."

It was Cunningham who said in the summer that Hairston would play this season. Hairston himself echoed that sentiment less than two weeks later.

Hairston led the team in scoring last season, putting up a 14.6 average. His 89 3-pointers were second-best in school history in one season. 

"I am extremely disappointed for P.J., his family and our team as he will no longer be playing basketball at North Carolina," Williams said in a statement. "P.J. made mistakes and I was very disappointed by his actions and now he is suffering the very difficult consequences. He is not a bad kid; he just made some mistakes."

Williams added that Hairston has been a terrific teammate since his troubles bubbled up over the summer and said he would "support him and help him as much as I possibly can as he enters this next phase of his life and basketball career."

North Carolina is 7-3 after its home loss to Texas on Wednesday. Its next game is Saturday against Davidson. Hairston is currently projected at No. 43 overall in Gary Parrish's most recent mock draft.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander has been with CBS Sports since 2010, primarily covering college basketball but also writes about the NBA Draft, the Olympics and the World Cup. He lives in Connecticut and loves to play... Full Bio

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