USA Today’s Eric Prisbell Comments On Hairston And Thomas

CHAPEL HILL - National college basketball writer for USA Today, Eric Prisbell, played a key role in uncovering information about Haydn “Fats” Thomas and his relationship with PJ Hairston.

Prisbell comments on who he thinks Thomas is and why he has a relationship with the basketball players like PJ Hairston.

“Who he is, is a guy who operates in the shadows, in anonymity really and he builds relationships with these high profile, some of them high profile in the area, for the purpose of partying” said Prisbell.

The NCAA is currently investigating to see if Thomas was a booster representative of UNC Athletics.  The NCAA can already suspend Hairston for several games due to his recent arrest for possession of marijuana, but if the NCAA declares Thomas a booster, Prisbell says UNC basketball next year could be under further investigation.

“Well I think if “Fats” Thomas is declared a booster, I think that’s a game changer and that’s problematic for both Hairston and the North Carolina basketball program, but I think that’s a real stretch at this point.  I don’t think we’re going to see that” Prisbell said.

UNC did not contact Thomas after Hairston was arrested and have yet to investigate their involvement together. Instead, Prisbell says the University is looking to see if sports agent, Rodney Blackstock, had any involvement in PJ Hairston receiving benefits.

“The NCAA and North Carolina are not just looking at “Fats” Thomas’ relationship with PJ but they’re looking at Rodney Blackstock’s relationship with PJ” Prisbell claims.

UNC and the NCAA continue to investigate Hairston’s involvement with  Thomas and Blackstock.  Prisbell says he has yet to find a connection involving benefits between Blackstock and Hairston.

“He has known PJ and his family for a long, long time because they’ve both been from Greensboro, but I have yet to find any evidence of an improper benefit between Blackstock and PJ” said Prisbell.

Judge Rules University Did Not Protect Housekeepers

CHAPEL HILL – While UNC tends to the early stages of its newest investigation, a ruling was released late last week in another case that alleges sexual harassment.

According to the News and Observer, Administrative Judge Melissa Lassiter ruled Friday that the University failed to protect a housekeeper from sexual harassment and retaliation.

In early 2011, numerous employees in the housekeeping department complained of poor treatment, with incidents ranging from sexual harassment to open threats. After the Washington-based PRM Consulting Firm conducted hundreds of interview of the staff, it found that the department’s practices “created a culture with employee morale issues, lack of trust, and overall frustration.” Housekeeping director Bill Burston stepped down in September amid the controversy; in December 2011, former assistant director Tonya Sell also resigned amidst allegations of verbally abusing her employees.

One housekeeper at the forefront of the investigation is Maria Isabel Prudencio-Arias; she claimed to be a victim of sexual harassment and says she was punished after she brought that to the administrations attention. Prudencio-Arias still works at UNC.

Judge Lassiter awarded Prudencio-Arias attorney fees and said the University should meet her medical needs with a job that suits her. Her lawyer told the N&O that she will be seeking $160,000 in damages for lost personal leave, depression and emotional stress.

The ruling now goes in front of the State Personnel Commission, which will make a final ruling.

Another T.W.O Cents Response to: "A Letter to Deems May"

This T.W.O. Cents column is in response to “A Letter to Deems May.”

Dear Dr. Harmon:

You first make the argument that “Reasonable People” care about the University and not what Deems does or who he is. By making that argument that way, you assume that anyone that has a different point of view must not be reasonable. I assume that comes from the fact that you consider yourself a educated man and you are the brightest bulb in the room and anyone that thinks different from you must be un-reasonable. Your letter is filled with half truths which is typical when facts are not on your side of the argument.  
As far as defending Davis, why is there any reason to do so?  The NCAA has made no accusation as to any wrong doing and neither has Thorp or anybody at the University. In fact Thorp stated on numerous occasions that Davis did nothing wrong.  The recent expansion of the football facilities was in direct result of Coach Davis and the excitement of the program. The expansion was decided prior to Thorp becoming the Chancellor. One would assume from your statement that Thorp was a huge part of the expansion which is not the case.   
Unlike Davis, Thorp has actually committed a NCAA infraction. It is funny that Thorp oversaw the tutor program that produced Wiley and assuming you hold yourself to the same standard as you hold others namely Davis he should resign.     
“If Butch Davis were fired solely to de-emphasize football, he would surely have legal recourse.”  The university can, at anytime, make that decision and you can’t just go into court and require them to do so.  There is a reason that the University decided to buy out his contract and, my opinion, is a fire stop to keep from revealing the issues relating to the academic side of UNC.  A modern University has no method of finding out if the plagiarism that is found on college campuses nationwide is just one example.    
The last of your letter to Deems was concerning the point shaving scandal and involved only players and not Frank McGuire who you maligned. Coach McGuire left because of the de-emphasizing basketball and not fired or found out to be part of any wrongdoing.  He left on his own accord and went to coach in the NBA and college again later. There were the detractors to that policy from students and those in the community. Jesse Helms, at that time a commentator on WRAL-TV, asserted that the individuals involved, not commercialism and professionalism, had corrupted basketball, and “deficient educational policies” had contributed to the problem.
The same can be said of the same issues you are seeing today.   

John Hopkins