The Tar Heels announced in December when Hairston would not be reinstated after an investigation because of possible rules violations that kept him off the court since the end of last season.
"I've spent the past couple of weeks consulting with my family about what's best for me, my development and my future," Hairston said in a statement. "With their counsel in mind, I have enrolled in an online course at the University of North Carolina, taking a class in my major that will be applied towards getting my communications degree. I turned in my first assignment yesterday.
"Additionally, I am pursing an opportunity to play basketball in the NBA's Developmental League, and submitted my paperwork this afternoon. I am excited to continue to pursue my degree at UNC while also pursing my dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
"I appreciate all the support I've received during this process and hope everyone is having a great New Year so far."
Harrison was linked to the use of cars rented by Durham-area convicted felon Haydn "Fats" Thomas. He also was stopped by police in separate incidents last year involving speeding, driving without a license and possession of marijuana.