Rashad McCants was named to the University of North Carolina's Dean List during the same spring semester when he also was the second-leading scorer on the Tarheels' 2004-05 national championship team.
Only problem was, he didn't attend the majority of his classes that semester.
That was only one of the many examples of academic fraud that the former college player revealed in an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines. The revelations confirm the many reports which have plagued UNC's Department of African and Afro-American studies over the years.
McCants claimed to have received A's in all four of his classes that final semester, even though he rarely actually attended those classes. He also said academic tutors would write his term papers for him, in "one-off" classes which did not check attendance but simply required a final essay to receive a grade.
Let's be clear here: these allegations are nothing new and mirror similar reports which have led to critical media coverage and drastic change since 2012, when they were first revealed by the Raleigh News & Observer.
However, McCants also dropped another bombshell which is much more interesting.
According to McCants, his coach was "100 percent" aware of the paper-class system.
That means Roy Williams, who averaged an 80-percent win ratio while at Kansas before joining UNC in 2000 and winning two national championships, was aiding efforts to keep players academically eligible in clear violation of NCAA rules.
Williams denied knowing anything about the many instances of academic fraud at the university, in a statement released by the university.
“With respect to the comments made today, I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said. In no way did I know about or do anything close to what he says and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me,” Williams said. “I have spent 63 years on this earth trying to do things the right way and the picture he portrays is not fair to the University or me."
Where the university will go from here is unclear. As stated before, there are no new allegations in the report, except for the claim that Williams knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it. Another damning report was released by CNN in January, which revealed statistics from UNC researcher Mary Willingham which claimed that 60 percent of the school’s athletes read between fourth and eighth-grade levels.
College athletics and sometimes questionable academic practices have gone hand-in-hand for years. In 2004, the University of Georgia basketball program was thrown into disarray after it was revealed that in one class, players received a test which asked, “How many points does a 3-point field goal account for in a basketball game?”
But as we hear more and more about student-athletes being allowed to get away with such things, it’s getting harder to take seriously the “student” part of that equation.
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