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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  • farenheit66966 Mar 31, 2014

    Yes, WRAL. Please let's once again make this about the rest of the country having a problem, and not the lying, concealing, obstructing and obfuscating that the unc-ch administration has done the last four years.
    They have been caught red-handed, and it's been admitted by their own people. Players, staff, and former deans of schools there.
    They have wasted the taxpayers money, time, and patience.
    And you have the gall to pacify their guilt by casting it on other "criminals".

    I remember twenty or thirty years ago when you actually were a news provider, not a shill for corruption.
    Get Cullen Browder to go do a feel-good peace about putting this all behind them. Then the santimony will indeed be complete.

  • early exit Roy Mar 31, 2014

    Mr. Williams has a point. But he should have elaborated more. We all know that grades are changed sometimes to keep athletes eligible. The difference is MOST schools don't create no show classes. Then they give an A or B in that c;lass to the athlete. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE! BOGUS CLASSES!

  • Objective Scientist Mar 31, 2014

    What the hell? You're "jumping all over WRAL" when it was Deunta Williams who said "the rest of the country" was having the same issue as is Carolina! WRAL is simply reporting what Williams said! And, I do not work for and I know no one at WRAL. I have 3 earned degrees from Carolina and I've been in classes with and/or had the opportunity to observe UNC athletes in the classroom. Some are truly GREAT students and have the academic record to prove it. Some... to use William's words "weren't the sharpest tool in the shed", and indeed had trouble reading what even an average high school student would have no trouble! There is a large group of athletes in between those two extremes. HBO/ESPN gets someone like Williams to tell that side the story. UNC "counters" with statements by athletes who are good students and successful academically who never darkened the door of a 'paper only" class. Both HBO/ESPN and UNC must think we are all a "bunch of dummies".

  • farenheit66966 Mar 31, 2014

    To obejective scientist,
    WRAL has been apologist central for unc-ch since this started. And they will continue to either avoid the issue, or cloud it with the stance that this is a cancer in society, not within the walls of
    South Building.
    Look at the first three quotes from Williams in the story. Both detailing the nationwide epidemic that consumes college athletes.
    Only at the end of the article does it even approach placing any blame on unc-ch's administrators in any of this. And even then, it's a "we'll still be winners if we do the right thing."

    The time for unc-ch, and WRAL to do the right thing passed some time ago.
    Thank God for Dan Kane, John Drescher, and the rest of the national media for keeping this story alive.

  • Chatham Adam Mar 31, 2014

    WRAL writes, "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."

    Come on, WRAL, get up to date. Mary W has sense acknowledged that AFAM 41, which was last offered 7-8 years ago, was never a "paper" class and that the supposed student did not get his final grade solely because of this supposed paper. It also appears that the supposed paper was typed on MW's own computer, per the postings today by UNC Prof. Jay Smith, her business partner. You've got a questionable source here, WRAL.

  • otis4411 Mar 31, 2014

    He is still wrong on one important thing. There is a difference in "easy" classes and fake classes. So far UNC is alone in that category.

  • unc70 Mar 31, 2014

    Willingham and her partner Jay Smith have changed their story regarding the paper shown on screen. It was not the final paper in a paper only class, nor the final paper in AFAM 41 at all. Even the N&O has issued a correction.

    Exactly what the source of the paper and how it came to be in Willingham's possession is unclear. Their story keeps changing as each new version raises new questions. I think the latest explanation by Smith is that it was left on Willingham's computer by the student she was tutoring. It seems that any such scenario would involve multiple violations of UNC policies and regulations by Willingham. If she "found" the document, she still has a lot of explaining to do.

    I suspect that Smith has little personal knowledge regarding the paper, Willingham's so-called research, or much of anything else.

  • Mary is a liar Mar 31, 2014

    If MW was doing her job, she would never had let anyone turn in a paper like that. Why would she keep that paper on her computer for 8 years? Is she still using an 8 year old computer? I've heard Mary is transferring to N.C. State.

  • TTCP Apr 1, 2014

    They are all liars.

  • keeter Apr 1, 2014

    This wasn't a real paper, that wasn't Julius Peppers' realtranscript. UNC keeps trying to put out these little fires while the woods are smoldering behind them. But they've got 3 National Title Banners hanging in what's left of the trees...




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