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The He-Said-He-Said

By Ran Northam Posted June 9, 2014 at 8:09 am

Originally posted 6:48 a.m., June 9, 2014

All that’s left from the weekend’s back-and-forth accounts of the academic scandal at UNC with an alleged connection to the basketball program is a he-said-he-said debate moderated by ESPN.

On Friday, Former UNC basketball star Rashad McCants told ESPN that tutors wrote papers for him, he remained eligible only because of phony “paper classes” – and that his coaches, including Roy Williams, were fully aware of what was going on. He made those comments – and more – on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

***Listen to the Audio***

Before the weekend began, 16 of McCants’ former teammates from the 2005 national champion UNC men’s basketball team issued a statement to the Associated Press regarding McCants’ comments.

It read:

“We are proud of our accomplishments both on and off the floor at UNC. With conviction, each one of us is proud to say that we attended class and did our own academic work. We want to thank our advisers and counselors who supported us, while also maintaining the integrity of the institution. We also want to make it clear that Coach (Roy) Williams and his staff operated with the highest level of ethics and integrity within their respective roles. We are forever grateful for the lessons we learned on the court, in the classroom and during our time in Chapel Hill.

“In light of the comments made by Rashad on ESPN Outside the Lines, we want to state that our personal academic experiences are not consistent with Rashad’s claims. We know that Coach Williams did not have any knowledge of any academic impropriety, and further that Coach Williams would not have tried to manipulate a player’s schedule. Rashad will always be our teammate and we wish him well on all of his future endeavors.”

Signed by:

Charlie Everett, Raymond Felton, Brooks Foster, Damion Grant, Jesse Holley, C.J. Hooker, Jackie Manuel, Sean May, Wes Miller, David Noel, Byron Sanders, Melvin Scott, Reyshawn Terry, Quentin Thomas, Jawad Williams, Marvin Williams

Less than 24 hours after “Outside the Lines” aired, UNC men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams responded in an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas.

***Listen to the Audio***

Monday morning, Ran Northam and Ron Stutts spoke with UNC School of Journalism professor, Charlie Tuggle, who’s been following the academic scandal closely. He’s covered sports in many different capacities throughout his career and has continued while becoming an educator.

***Listen to the Interview***

We invited UNC’s Vice Chancellor for Communication, Joel Curran, to the conversation as well. He issued the following statement:

“At this time, we think it is best to allow Ken Wainstein to continue his work without the University creating a concurrent review of every claim that arises. Once Mr. Wainstein has completed his work, and makes that public, we will be very interested in sharing our plans for moving forward.”

We also invited former Knight Foundation President Hodding Carter to the conversation, but he was unable to be reached.

Friday, a number of people weighed in on McCants’ comments, including immediate reactions from Tuggle. You can listen to them here.

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