Roy Williams blasts McCants' comments on UNC classes - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roy Williams blasts McCants' comments on UNC classes

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

Former University of North Carolina star Rashad McCants said he took no-show classes while playing for the Tar Heels, and that coach Roy Williams was aware of the situation.

“I didn’t write any papers. But I know that the tutors did help guys write papers,” McCants told ESPN. “But for the premier players, we didn’t write our papers.

“When it was time to turn in our papers for our paper classes, we would get a call from our tutors, we would all pack up in one big car, or two or three cars, carpool over to the tutor’s house and basically get our papers and go about our business.”

McCants was one of UNC’s top players for three seasons, and helped Carolina win the NCAA title in 2005. He averaged 16.0 points that season, which won Williams his first national title.

When asked by ESPN if Williams knew what was going on, McCants said:

“I think he knew 100 percent. It’s hard for anybody not to know we’re taking African-American Study courses and we don’t have to go to class.

“That’s very obvious, especially when he has his coaches checking our classes and checking our schedules and checking our grades. It was something that was a part of the program.”

Williams, in a statement released by Carolina, said that wasn't true.

"I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said," Williams said. "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.

"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.”

The UNC academic scandal has rocked the campus and especially the football program, but the basketball program has been largely untouched. McCants’ comments are the first to suggest that the problems that have been documented with football athletes, which includes players taking no-show classes and receiving good grades, touched the basketball program as well.

McCants said he was speaking out because "college was a great experience, but looking back at it, now it's almost a tragedy because I spent a lot of my time in a class I didn't do anything in."

Full statement by UNC coach Roy Williams:

“Our players have been deeply hurt over the last couple of years, and again today, by the comments and innuendo concerning their academic achievements. The young men who accepted scholarships to play basketball at this University have done so expecting a world-class basketball experience, in addition to a world-class education. 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.

Our student-athletes understand the value of a degree from the University of North Carolina and accept their academic responsibilities in earning that degree. They take seriously their efforts to, in some cases, become the first member of their families to graduate from college.

I love them for all they have meant to UNC and to me, and I will continue to believe in and support them.

With respect to the comments made today, I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said. 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. 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.”

Full statement by UNCathletics director Bubba Cunningham:

“It is disappointing any time a student is dissatisfied with his or her experience. I welcome the opportunity to speak with Rashad McCants about returning to UNC to continue his academic career – just as we have welcomed many former student-athletes interested in completing their degrees.

"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.

"Since becoming Carolina’s director of athletics, I have gotten to know some of Mr. McCants’ teammates, and I know that claims about their academic experience have affected them deeply. They are adamant that they had a different experience at UNC-Chapel Hill than has been portrayed by Mr. McCants and others. I am impressed with their love for Carolina and passion for their education. Several of them have continued to take classes and finish their degrees and all of them are proud of their academic achievements. We, too, are proud of them.”

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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