Former North Carolina basketball star Rashad McCants helped the Tar Heels win a national championship in 2005. Had he actually been required to go to class and not been allowed to take bogus courses, he may not have even been academically eligible that year.
McCants, who has been playing in the NBA D-League since 2009, gave ESPN’s Outside the Lines a deeper look into the UNC athletics academic scandal this week when he revealed that he took the infamous “paper classes” that were designed to keep athletes eligible. He also said he made the Dean’s List in 2005 without ever attending class.
“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 explained. “… 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.”
McCants said it was common for athletes to take African-American studies courses, much like the one we showed you earlier this year where a student athlete wrote a 150-word term paper and allegedly received an A-. McCants also said that UNC coach Roy Williams is “100 percent” aware of the paper class system.
During the championship season in 2004-2005, McCants said he thought he might be kicked off the team after failing algebra and psychology. He said Williams instructed him to “buckle down” but assured him it would be taken care of. McCants later made the Dean’s List.
“There was a slight panic on my part … [Williams] said, you know, we’re going to be able to figure out how to make it happen, but you need to buckle down on your academics. [He said] we’re going to be able to change a class from, you know, your summer session class and swap it out with the class that you failed, just so the GPA could reflect that you are in good standing.”
In a statement to Outside the Lines, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said a former federal prosecutor is currently investigating the alleged academic misconduct and that McCants and any other former or current athletes are encouraged to speak to him. UNC whistleblower Mary Willingham also confirmed that what McCants is alleging “absolutely lines up” with her findings.
You would have to be incredibly naive to think that this stuff is only going on at North Carolina.