Former NBA player Rashad McCants ruffled feathers and turned questioning eyes to the University of North Carolina, his alma mater, when he claimed during an interview with ESPN that he took made-up classes during his time playing basketball for the school.
Paige Ladisic and Pat James reported in the Daily Tarheel that McCants had become quite vocal in a recent interview on ESPN's "Outside the Lines". He claimed to have taken many so-called "paper classes".
These classes were independent study classes and classes that never met and were part of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) course of studies. McCants was a member of North Carolina's 2005 national championship team.
McCants added that his tutors wrote his term papers for him and that he rarely attended classes. On top of that, he stated that he believed that head basketball coach Roy Williams knew about it.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt, announced that no statements from the university would be made until federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein's investigation was completed. Wainstein was retained to investigate the legitimacy of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, last February.
"You're not there to get an education, though they tell you that," McCants said in the interview. "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."
A review of the African-American Studies Program in 2012 at the behest of Gov. James Martin found numerous irregularities. Dr. Lewis Margolis, a professor at Gillings School of Global Health concurred:
"I think we have much evidence that educational compromises have been made," said Margolis, who is often involved in the discussion of college athletics. "The fact that an athlete has come out and confirmed that is not surprising. I think it's to his credit to acknowledge that this went on. Too often the athletes are silent, have been silent throughout this entire controversy."
Other members of the 2005 winning team disagreed with McCants. They said that their education had been far more important than their time on the court. Even a former player for Williams at the University of Kansas said that the coach was very invested in his team members academic success. In an article written by Andrew Carter for the Charlotte Observer, Carter says that on ESPN, McCant said that his teammates should "show your transcripts".
The NCAA wants a thorough investigation and report. During the 2005 championship season, McCant's records show that he was on the Dean's List.
"At first it was a shock to me that I would actually receive the Dean's list because I didn't go to class," McCants said.
McCant says he has no beef with Williams, he just wants to "Defend the student athlete".