Former NBA guard Rashad McCants says his college education at the University of North Carolina was a sham.
Talking to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” recently, the former Tar Heel said that tutors wrote his papers, he rarely went to class for nearly half his time in college, and he took fraudulent classes specifically designed to keep athletes academically eligible.
McCants, a member of Tar Heels 2004-05 squad that won the national title, said it was common practice for UNC basketball players to major in African-American studies and he didn’t question tutors writing papers for him.
"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."
McCants even alleged that UNC coach Roy Williams once informed him of his academic troubles during a meeting and changed a failing class on his transcript to a passing class to reflect “good standing.”
“‘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,'’’ McCants said Williams told him. "I remained eligible to finish out and win the championship, his first championship, and everything was peaches and cream.”
Williams denied the allegation during his own sit-down interview with ESPN and said he was in "disbelief" over McCants's claims.
"I don't have any idea what swapping out would be," Williams said. "That's not in my vocabulary. You can't take a course and get another one thrown out at the college level. All of your courses count. So I know I would not have that kind of conversation. I don't know what swapping out means, and I have never suggested that anybody take any course."
He also said he doesn’t believe that tutors write student-athletes’ papers at UNC.
“I don't sit in the classroom," Williams said. "I don't turn in their papers, but I find that impossible for me to believe."
When asked why he is coming forward with this alleged information years later, McCants said, “It’s time.”
"It's time for everybody to really just be accountable,” McCants said. “If there are Carolina fans that don't like what 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."
McCants played at UNC from 2002-05 before being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2005. After four years in the NBA, McCants played professionally in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, China and Brazil.
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(Photo: Judy Eddy/WENN.com)