Former University of North Carolina basketball star and NBA player Rashad McCants is claiming that UNC is complicit in academic fraud that helped ensure his eligibility to play during the 2004-2005 basketball season, when the Tar Heels won the national championship. During that season, McCants, a 6’4” shooting guard, averaged 16.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game and was instrumental in the success that UNC had.
McCants says that he had tutors that would write papers for him and that he was also a part of a “paper-class” system that allowed for students to not attend classes if they were in the African-American Studies program. Here’s what McCants told ESPN’s Steve Delsohn:
I thought it was a part of the college experience, just like watching it on a movie from ‘He Got Game’ or ‘Blue Chips.’ … 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 has also stated that UNC head coach, Roy Williams, aided him by swapping a class from his summer session with one that he was failing, thus allowing him to remain eligible and continue playing basketball. He firmly believes that Williams and the entire UNC athletic department were “100 percent” aware of the fraud that occurred.
“I mean, you have to know about the education of your players and … who’s eligible, who’s not and … who goes to this class and missing that class,” McCants said. “We had to run sprints for missing classes if we got caught, so you know, they were very aware of what was going on.”
Although McCants understands that his claims are controversial and may cause him to be alienated from the UNC community, but he remains steadfast because he believes that academic fraud is a major issue that needs to be dealt with more seriously.
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. … 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.
It’s very rare that a player like McCants comes forward about academic fraud taking place within the NCAA. His accusations could potentially force UNC to forfeit its 2005 national championship over Illinois if more indisputable evidence is found by the NCAA during its investigation.
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