Former North Carolina basketball star Rashad McCants, who was instrumental in bringing North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams his first national title at Chapel Hill in 2005, alleges that his former basketball coach knew “100%” that basketball players were taking sham classes they did not have to attend to make them eligible for games.
McCants now says he should have been academically eligible had it not been for sham African-American studies classes in which he received As without going to class or doing any of the work. In fact, McCants said he even made the “Dean’s List in Spring 2005 despite not attending any of his four classes for which he received straight-A grades.”
“I thought it was a part of the college experience, just like watching it on a movie from ‘He Got Game’ or ‘Blue Chips,'” McCants told ESPN. “… when you get to college, you don’t go to class, you don’t do nothing, you just show up and play. That’s exactly how it was, you know, and I think that was the tradition of college basketball, or college, period, any sport. You’re not there to get an education, though they tell you that.
“You’re there to make revenue for the college. You’re there to put fans in the seats. You’re there to bring prestige to the university by winning games.”
Raleigh News & Observer reported in December 2012 “that basketball players on the national championship team accounted for 15 enrollments in the classes” and a “UNC internal investigation found that 54 classes in the department of African and Afro-American Studies were either ‘aberrant’ or ‘irregularly’ taught from summer 2007 to summer 2011.”
In a statement, Williams said he “strongly” disagrees with McCants.
“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,” he said. “I have spent 63 years on this earth trying to do things the right way and the picture he portrays is not fair to the University or me.”
McCants told ESPN that “he was headed toward ineligibility during the championship season because he had failed algebra and psychology, which accounted for half of his credits, in the fall of 2004. He had two A’s in AFAM classes in addition to the F’s. He said coach Roy Williams informed him of his academic troubles during a meeting ahead of the spring semester”:
A copy of McCants’ university transcript, labeled “unofficial” and obtained by “Outside the Lines,” shows that in his non-African-American Studies classes, McCants received six C’s, one D and three F’s. In his African-American Studies classes, 10 of his grades were A’s, six B’s, one a C, and one a D. The UNC registrar’s office declined to send McCants an official, signed transcript because of a May 2005 hold on its release. According to the UNC Athletic Department, McCants had university property that had never been returned.
“I remained eligible to finish out and win the championship, his first championship, and everything was peaches and cream,” McCants said. “If there are Carolina fans that don’t like what’s I’m saying and don’t like what’s happening right now, they need to look in the mirror, see that it’s a bigger picture… I’m putting my life on the line for the younger generation right now, and I know that nobody else wants to step up and speak out because everybody’s afraid, fear, submission, especially the black athletes.”