College Basketball Nation: Rashad McCants
In today's 3-point shot, Andy Katz reports on why the NCAA isn't responding to the Rashad McCants allegation at North Carolina, a home for the 2018 Big Ten tournament and the outlook for the United States' Under-18 team.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams told ESPN's Jay Bilas that he was in "shock" and "disbelief" when he learned former guard Rashad McCants had told "Outside the Lines" that tutors wrote his term papers, he rarely went to class for about half his time at UNC, and he remained able to play largely because he took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible.
In a 35-minute, on-camera interview Saturday that was attended by 11 former basketball players as a show of support, Williams said the experiences McCants shared did not match what he knows about his players' academic efforts and records and the basketball program he oversees.
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Rashad McCants, the second-leading scorer on the North Carolina basketball team that won the 2004-05 national title, told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that tutors wrote his term papers, he rarely went to class for about half his time at UNC, and he remained able to play largely because he took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible.
McCants told "Outside the Lines" that he could have been academically ineligible to play during the championship season had he not been provided the assistance. Further, he said head basketball coach Roy Williams knew about the "paper-class" system at UNC. The so-called paper classes didn't require students to go to class; rather, students were required to submit only one term paper to receive a grade.
McCants also told "Outside the Lines" that 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. He said advisers and tutors who worked with the basketball program steered him to take the paper classes within the African-American Studies program.
McCants' allegations mirror and amplify many of those first made public in 2011, when the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer began to report about widespread academic fraud at UNC. The scandal has centered on the African-American Studies classes that many athletes took in order to remain eligible. The newspaper reported in December 2012 that basketball players on the national championship team accounted for 15 enrollments in the classes. 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. That investigation only went back to 2007, according to the school's review, because the two senior associate deans who conducted the probe were told by Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to focus on that time frame.
The NCAA sanctioned the football program for improper benefits and academic misconduct involving a tutor, but the athletic department's sports programs largely emerged from the academic scandal penalty-free.
In a statement to "Outside the Lines" on Thursday, UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said: "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.
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Doherty is the subject of a big reconciliation-type feature in the Charlotte News & Observer today. And hey, it seems like he's doing OK.
His tiptoe back into the Carolina basketball family, he said, stems from a long-overdue heart-to-heart last September with Roy Williams - an assistant coach when Doherty was a player in from 1980-84, a mentor when Doherty served as his assistant coach at Kansas from 1992-99, and the man who ultimately replaced him in Chapel Hill when Doherty was given the boot with three years left on his contract.
Williams said Doherty has always been a talented coach and Tar Heel in his eyes.
[...] "There needed to be a conversation ... why did this person do this? Why did they say that? What was the timing of this, or did this conversation take place?" Doherty said last week. "We all need to learn how to forgive, and I was struggling with that. I wanted to forgive, but I think in order to forgive, there had to be a conversation first, so I could let go of that."
If there's anyone who can get UNC types to stop hating Matt Doherty -- and Matt Doherty to stop hating UNC types -- it's Roy Williams. He's like a big cuddly wool suit-wearing grandpa. And in the UNC "family" (which is what North Carolina people insist on calling their former players and coaches), when grandpa speaks, the family listens.
That said, it would have sucked to be Matt Doherty. He was somewhat rudely pushed out the door with hardly any of his original salary, and then two years later his insanely talented players (Sean May, Rashard McCants, Raymond Felton et. al.) went on to beat Illinois' one-loss team in the national championship game. That Doherty has seemingly let this go is a major emotional accomplishment. I would still be bitter. Wouldn't you?