When Roy Williams announced he intended to suspend guard P.J. Hairston to start the season rather than dismissing him entirely, not everyone at North Carolina supported the coach's decision.
In fact, one university employee has apparently gone so far as to quit his job in protest of it.
Jack Halperin, a longtime academic tutor for North Carolina's athletic department, wrote an open resignation letter to Williams that appeared in Friday's edition of the Daily Tar Heel. Halperin is apparently furious Hairston will play for the Tar Heels this season despite offseason arrests for reckless driving and speeding, including one in which police allegedly found marijuana inside the rental car Hairston was driving and a nine-millimeter gun and nine rounds of ammunition outside it.
"Roy, after 23 years as an academic tutor, and after going through the devastating football scandal, I am resigning in protest of your disgraceful decision to allow P.J. Hairston to remain on the team.
If I were arrested driving with no license, illegal drugs and a gun in a felon’s car, my employment at this University would end immediately.
Hairston’s DTH headline quote was, “I will play this season.” Since when does the criminal decide his fate?"
Williams has said Hairston will sit out multiple games to start the season as a result of his offseason transgressions, but the length of that suspension has not been announced yet. Hairston earned his way back from an indefinite offseason suspension by displaying a good attitude and completing ample extra conditioning.
"P.J. has done more conditioning this preseason than any player I’ve ever had," Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer last week. "He’s done more than three times more than any player I’ve ever had. He has not asked me the question yet, but I know it’s in his mind – he’s wondering if he’s on a track scholarship."
It's understandable Williams' handling of the Hairston saga would stir strong emotions, but it's surprising this would serve as Halperin's breaking point. After all, North Carolina officials recently admitted to academic fraud in the African American Studies Department, though a university investigation concluded the fraud was not intended to benefit athletes because nonathletes enrolled also received the same high grades.
An email sent Saturday morning to Halperin seeking further explanation of his decision to resign was not immediately returned. For now, all that's known is he's dissatisfied enough with Williams' decision to leave his job because of it.