For the past two years, North Carolina’s athletic department has been involved in an academic fraud scandal where football and men’s basketball players enrolled in African-American studies classes they neither had to attend or write papers for. The football program is still under probation and recovering from NCAA sanctions that included a bowl ban after the 2012 season.
Yesterday in an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Rashad McCants, a former guard on UNC’s 2005 national championship basketball team, said that he rarely attended classes and in the spring semester of that season, a year in which he got straight As and made the dean’s list. Most important to any further NCAA investigation, McCants also asserted that head coach Roy Williams knew about the academic fraud, as did the rest of the athletic department. That could open the school up to further sanctions which, predictably, sparked a denial from Williams.
“I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said,” the coach said in a university-issued statement. “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.”
Sixteen members of the 2005 team issued a statement of their own that offered, “With conviction, each one of us is proud to say that we attended class and did our own academic work. We want to thank our advisers and counselors who supported us, while also maintaining the integrity of the institution. We also want to make it clear that Coach (Roy) Williams and his staff operated with the highest level of ethics and integrity within their respective roles.”
Other Tar Heel alums took their reactions to social media, including current Spur Danny Green, who played at Carolina from 2005-2009:
Knew he was a wild boy, but didn’t think he would ever go this far…still a little shocked n not much surprises me
— Danny Green (@DGreen_14) June 6, 2014
Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (UNC 2009-2012):
Crazy that someone so disreputable would try to tarnish something so special.
— John Henson (@_John_Henson_) June 6, 2014
Mavericks guard Wayne Ellington (UNC 2006-2009):
Rashad McCants is out of his mind.
— Wayne Ellington (@WayneElli22) June 6, 2014