Summer storyline cocktail: One part P.J., one part Pirates
Posted July 3, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The summer wind - thus far - has blown in.
Yet another thunderstorm of anxiety for UNC fans, this time in the form of basketball player P.J. Hairston.
Until the details become clear about the junior forward’s June 5 arrest in Durham for driving without a license and marijuana possession, Tar Heel coach Roy Williams, and the school, are right to reserve judgment.
But my guess is that Hairston is a long shot to play another game for Carolina.
Hopefully, I’m guessing wrong. Hopefully, Hairston will turn out to be in no serious trouble and will back on the court to continue the surge that helped the Heels turn around their fortune last season.
That said, the entire situation involving Hairston and two other men - Miykael Faulcon and Carlos Sanford - royally flunks the smell test.
Police found a pistol outside a 2013 GMC Yukon rental driven by Hairston. Who put the gun there - and why - isn’t known.
Again, hopefully the weapon was never in the possession of Hairston or anyone else in the car. But the longer the gun isn’t linked to someone, somewhere, the worse it looks for Hairston.
At the very best, Hairston has established that he’s playing fast and loose on the lifestyle front. If he was driving without a license, that alone is proof of poor decision making.
More speculation about realignment and conference hopping
The ACC seemingly has stabilized, thanks primarily to its recently signed grant of rights covenant. And at least for now, the Big Ten seems content with its East Coast additions of Maryland and Rutgers.
But don’t trash your redistricting map just yet. There’s too much backstage noise going on in the SEC and Big 12 to assume the landscape has completely settled for the foreseeable future.
With the ACC soon to be at 15 members, and Notre Dame perhaps trending toward full-time membership at some point, it’s difficult to imagine that the SEC will stay at 14 members or that the Big 12 is locked in on 10.
The SEC is the primary force, of course. But with the ACC outposts apparently secure, it’s not easy to predict where the king football league will scout.
The most obvious prospect is either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State of the Big 12. Given the cable TV market impetus behind expansion, the SEC doesn’t need both the Cowboys and the Sooners.
But since there’s a possibility Oklahoma legislators could tie the two schools to a common conference future, the SEC may not be able to bring aboard one without the other.
The two glaring geographical voids in the SEC’s cable portfolio are Virginia and North Carolina, which has led to some speculation that ECU will at least be in the conversation at some point.
The Pirates have recently committed to the new American Athletic Conference, but would be most viable option for the SEC to dent the North Carolina and eastern Virginia cable markets.
ECU certainly doesn’t have the tradition of most SEC schools, but the football-first profile and enthusiastic fan base factors have been in place for decades.
Regardless of what the SEC does, the Big 12 is almost certain to add a second East Coast base if for no other reason than to give West Virginia a reasonably close league neighbor.
It’s all probably a pipe dream for ECU fans, but there’s no law that pipe dreams can’t come true.