North Carolina

Former UNC player: Systematic problem between academics and athletics

Posted March 31, 2014

Deunta Williams

Former North Carolina defensive back Deunta Williams made waves last week when he spoke about the academic scandal at UNC on national television. Williams told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 FM The Fan Monday that he knew his participation in ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' segment would not go over well with some Tar Heel fans but wanted to be up front about his experience and how academics were handled.

"I think the overall message that everyone needs to take from this is that it’s not necessarily about Carolina," said Williams.

Williams said he believes there is a systematic problem across the country with how universities balance academics and athletics.

"There is a system of things going on where players don’t necessarily have enough time. So systems, like whatever was going on at Carolina, are created. Not just at Carolina but across the country, where people are taking basket weaving, or you’re taking a hard class load during the offseason and during the season you’re taking an easy one," Williams said.

Williams said an athlete spends about 40 hours a week on 'athlete time' which he described as workouts, practices, interviews and speaking engagements, and then they have to go do their schoolwork.

"It tends to be a lot and it’s four years of your life. Hey, I’m not complaining but it does put those schools in situations to look at a young man or woman and say 'How are we going to help this person do what we recruited them here to do?' and that was to win games," Williams said.

On the same 'Outside the Lines' segment North Carolina whistleblower and tutor Mary Willingham revealed a 10-sentence paper by a UNC football player that earned an A- in one of the 'paper classes' athletes took to lighten their workload. Willingham has made claims that several athletes she worked with at UNC read at elementary or middle school levels.

Williams said he knew when he came to Carolina there were a couple of players who, he said, “weren’t the “sharpest tool in the shed.”

"I remember being in English, and we had to stand up and read and some guys had trouble reading," said Williams. "Now it was a big joke then but when these guys graduated from college and are no longer cool because they are no longer athletes, that’s where the problem lies. That’s where these guys are being shorted at and that’s where they don’t have a voice at."

Williams said Willingham's claims sting because he loves Carolina and no one wants to hear negative reporting about their school. Williams said by speaking out he hopes to make the university stronger.

"It’s giving UNC the chance to reach out and become one of the leaders in this epidemic across the country. I think it would be smart of Carolina to jump ahead of the curve and do that," Williams said.
 

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  • uBnice Apr 5, 7:13 a.m.

    Most athletes couldn't gain entrance like a non athlete could to most universities. Sad that... View More

    — Posted by huxter72

    It is the money! If the gifted student could match the gifted athlete in bringing in millions of dollars, then there would be equality.

    But all of this is about the decision making ability and ethics of the ones in charge. The unqualified athletes do not stage protest to get into school. They are recruited to play ball and the school knows that they are not academically good enough to enter (or graduate). But the schools violate their own mission and ethics.

    I would like to finally see the focus on the decision makers and see them taken to task. This emphasis on the players themselves is simply a diversion.

  • huxter72 Apr 3, 11:10 p.m.

    Most athletes couldn't gain entrance like a non athlete could to most universities. Sad that gifted students get denied but some oaf can shoot a ball or run a football waltzes right in. And can't read this post.

  • 1jalapeno Apr 3, 11:11 a.m.

    These kids in big time football and basketball programs are athletes first and students second. They are not in school to learn they are in school to contribute to the success of the football or basketball program. Alumni aren't building multi-million dollar sport facilities and paying coaches millions of dollars to ensure these athletes graduate with a meaningful degree. Stop with the nonsense. These kids are paid to play, just not with anything really meaningful for most of them.

  • Kenan-FlaglerAlumni Apr 3, 7:53 a.m.

    It happens everywhere. Deal with it.

  • seedofdoubt Apr 2, 6:54 p.m.

    40 hours a week to athletics? 16 hours School work? My wife worked a job, took care of our kids... View More

    — Posted by andy2

    They have time for speaking engagements and interviews, but not enough time for academics? Nail on the head andy2. Those poor little boys should try working third shift in a steel foundry to pay for that education. Lots of students carry full time jobs while in school...ain't nothing special about being a student-athlete.

  • dlnorri Apr 2, 6:08 p.m.

    There seems to be a big difference between student athletes that take heavy course load during the off season and adds some summer classes; then takes a light load during competition season; vs. what was going on at UNC (No show classes and degrees made up of many no-show classes. I always wondered how the big east and sec kept all of their athletes eligable; knowing they had some lower acedemic standards. But I believe UNC set a standard that has not been found anywhere else.

  • LuvsThePack Apr 2, 9:57 a.m.

    UNC70, I understand the need to wait for the facts to come out. But your post comes across as... View More

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    No more than Rodney Purvis or Cat Barber. Cat can barely speak in complete sentences!

    — Posted by UNCW23

    As I expected, you refused to answer the question.

    Rodney was not an issue. State did everything by the book and the NCAA cleared him.

    Cat may speak in ebonics, which is simply a reflection of the side of town he is from.

    You have nothing on EITHER of these two players.

    Now answer the question.

  • alphaman Apr 1, 11:16 p.m.

    I just love it....40+ years of having to digest the tripe coming out of unc and finally....the curtain has been pulled back. And how quick the lifers are to shoot the messenger(s) or minimize the situation. It's always someone else to blame. YOU are as much the problem as anyone else. Grow a set; stand up for what's right; admit guilt; take responsibility and THEN move forward. But that last sentence may as well have begun with "once upon a time," as the unc faithful will never face the reality of how they've lived a lie for all these years. Yep, it's the carolina way as I've heard for 40 years. Now the rest of us know what it truly means. Peace out....

  • Mary is a liar Apr 1, 8:54 p.m.

    Until some other NCSUniversities come out and tell the truth about what's going on at their university, then it won't be about anything but bashing UNC, not the system.

  • dmccall Apr 1, 2:52 p.m.

    "Being shorted"? The person being shorted is the qualified person who wanted to go to UNC and couldn't because some imbecile who plays football got the seat instead. The dumb athlete should just appreciate that he got a chance to continue playing football, because he surely wouldn't have been in college if athletics were abolished. The qualified athletes, on the other hand, _want_ to take real classes and get an education. (BTW, 40hrs a week on non-academics really isn't that big of an imposition on a qualified student taking 12 hours of _real_ classes, Deunta)

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