North Carolina

UNC denies latest claims of 'paper classes'

Posted June 6, 2014

— Leaders in the University of North Carolina athletic department closed ranks Friday after the latest attack on their academic integrity.

Head basketball coach Roy Williams and others on the 2004-05 Tar Heel basketball team denied claims made by former North Carolina basketball player Rashad McCants, a member of the 2004-05 national championship team, that Williams knew about the “paper classes” players took that allowed them to forgo classroom time and simply submit a paper for their grade.

McCants told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" Friday that he took classes that required nothing more than a paper and that tutors wrote papers for student-athletes. McCants said he rarely went to class yet remained eligible to play.

"With respect to the comments made today, I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said," Williams said in a statement Thursday. "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."

McCants' 16 teammates signed a statement that said, "With conviction, each one of us is proud to say that we attended class and did our own academic work."

McCants’ allegations are the first direct claim involving the Tar Heels basketball program and the 2005 National Championship team. The other UNC athletes on that team, and those who issued the statement were: Sean May, Jesse Holley, Melvin Scott, Raymond Felton, Charlie Everett, Reyshawn Terry, Jackie Manuel, Quentin Thomas, Jawad Williams, Wes Miller, Marvin Williams, Damion Grant, David Noel, C.J. Hooker and Bryon Sanders.

"Our personal academic experiences are not consistent with Rashad's claims," the statement continued. "We know that Coach Williams did not have any knowledge of any academic impropriety, and further that Coach Williams would not have tried to manipulate a player's schedule."

Athletic director Bubba Cunningham released a statement to WRAL News Thursday saying it's disappointing anytime a student isn't satisfied with his experience.

"The university hired former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein in January to conduct an independent investigation into past academic and athletic irregularities. While these are the first allegations we have heard from Mr. McCants, I encourage him to speak with Mr. Wainstein. We are confident Mr. Wainstein's inquiry will provide us with a full understanding of these issues," Cunningham stated.

"Our players have been deeply hurt over the last couple of years, and again today, by the comments and innuendo concerning their academic achievements," said Williams. "Obviously, we pride ourselves on being one of the top basketball programs in the country, but equally important, in helping our players grow academically and socially, as we promised their parents we would." UNC's Rashad McCants blocks Bobby Frasor McCants unites Triangle rivals

Former UNC head coach Matt Doherty, who recruited and coached McCants tweeted Thursday, "I did not see any problems while I was at UNC as a player or a coach. I feel sorry for Rashad...He has had a lot of ups and downs during his career. If there are any issues.. I trust that Bubba Cunningham and the university will get to the bottom of it."

The "paper class" system came to light when former UNC academic adviser Mary Willingham claimed the university put player eligibility above academic integrity.

McCants also told ESPN that advisers and tutors who worked with the basketball program steered him towards the African-American Studies program – the program that has been a focal point in the academic scandal. Willingham claimed that for more than two decades no-show classes were prevalent in the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

A 2012 investigation led by former Gov. Jim Martin found problems in that department dating back to the mid-90s. The investigation revealed hundreds of bogus classes, altered and forged grades but that the discrepancies did not only and directly benefit student athletes. Non-athletes also took the classes.

Investigations into academic misconduct at North Carolina began in 2009 after allegations of improper benefits within the football program. The NCAA sanctioned the football program for both improper benefits and academic misconduct involving a tutor, leading to a postseason ban and the loss of 16 scholarships.

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  • redwolfone Jun 11, 2:59 p.m.

    UNC should be removed from the ACC and kicked out of the NCAA! If the NCAA is to have any credibility going forward, they will act soon.

  • Jackiemoon Jun 9, 5:34 p.m.

    I would love for the people on here that dont believe McCants to explain why he has a reason to lie. He isnt getting a paycheck to "spill the beans". Also while you are backtracking and trying to explain that question, please clarify why a University would even offer "bogus" classes to ANY student. Biggest Scandal in College sports history but it will be covered up on the count of money that the NCAA is mopping in on the UNC name. SAD.....

  • PackFanAllUpInHere Jun 9, 3:27 p.m.

    LOL

    every time you turn around that embarrassment of a "school" is DENYING something.....

    WOW..... there's REALITY, then there's "the kerlina way".

    I'm embarrassed for them.

    #GoodTimes

    :)

  • TTSCP Jun 9, 2:45 p.m.

    McCants is not lying.

  • heelsforever Jun 9, 1:33 p.m.

    good read --
    http://www.amazon.com/Tarnished-Heels.../dp/193952122X

    — Posted by Alex25

    As fiction goes, I bet my current read "Doctor Sleep" by Stephen King is much better

  • heelsforever Jun 9, 1:30 p.m.

    It must be lonely for McCants. With the actually good players that carried him thru the... View More

    — Posted by landonsgrampa

    In all fairness Captain, McCnats carried his share fo the load and more most nights. Doesn't change the fact that he has some pretty serious emotional issues, but to say his teammates carried him on the court is simply not true.

  • landonsgrampa Jun 9, 12:16 p.m.

    It must be lonely for McCants. With the actually good players that carried him thru the basketball program now in the pro's, he is trying to find any way he can, to make money. Those opportunities are dwindling quickly, so he is now getting desperate.

  • HEELSrocknU Jun 9, 9:43 a.m.

    I am a UNC fan for many years; my kids went to UNC-CH. I believe the whistle blower and McCants.... View More

    — Posted by ncmike

    I appreciate your statements. McCants was never one of my favorite players. He had an attitude... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    I for one, do not believe McCants. Think about it, he's washed up and was use to getting attention for being the man. Now, he's just another player that bombed and in his case, didn't get a degree, which is his own fault. So he is out to find fame in fortune the only way he can. ESPN came along offered him no telling how much money as well as, and probably more importantly, the spotlight again.
    It's his own fault how much he got out of education while attending, not only college but High school, He didn't value an education. He can only blame his self now, but instead, out of selfishness, wants to blame society, or in this case Roy and Carolina.

  • Big Mike Jun 8, 1:43 p.m.

    How many of the UNC sports stars,or at any other college or university for that matter, would have been admitted on their academic records and SAT scores in high school. Time for the NCAA to set the bar at 1000 and be firm with the decision..

  • KT has Shaniqua's SNAP card Jun 8, 8:44 a.m.

    A UNCheat diploma is a joke!

    — Posted by Paladin2

    My two undergraduate degrees were much more difficult, than my masters at NCSU.
    I worked a full... View More

    — Posted by 82ndAAHeel

    So underwater basket weaving and AFAM challenged you that much eh?

    — Posted by KT has Shaniqua's SNAP card

    I learned to how my breath. A lot more challenging than NCSU.

    — Posted by 82ndAAHeel

    Yeah like anybody is going to believe AFAM was harder than a masters program anywhere else. Try again, homer.

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