Former UNC player: Systematic problem between academics and athletics
Posted March 31, 2014
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.