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UNC Requests Interview With McCants

Updated 2:53 p.m., July 7, 2014

UNC has reached out to Rashad McCants, according to the News and Observer.

The University’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Student-Athlete Development, Vince Ille, confirmed Sunday night that a registered letter was sent to the former UNC basketball standout’s residence on June 6. Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications Steve Kirschner told WCHL that Ille has since followed up with two text messages. As of Monday afternoon, McCants had not responded.

The letter asks McCants if he will speak with Ille in greater detail about the potential NCAA infractions he says he witnessed while attending UNC.

In an interview that aired June 6, McCants told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that tutors wrote papers for him and he remained eligible only because of “paper classes” that required no attendance – and that his coaches, including head coach Roy Williams, were fully aware of what was going on. He returned to ESPN June 11 with little new information after Williams was interviewed saying he can’t believe what his former player said was taking place.

This request isn’t the first in the investigation of UNC’s academic irregularities. Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security and Homeland Security Advisor, Kenneth Wainstein is conducting an independent external review. He said he reached out to McCants in May requesting an interview. That request was denied, and since McCants’ appearance on ESPN, Wainstein said he has sent another request hoping he is now willing to speak.

The NCAA announced last week that it has reopened its 2011 investigation into the University. In a statement, athletic director Bubba Cunningham said, “the NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff.”

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-requests-interview-mccants/

Willingham Sues UNC, Asks For Reinstatement

Originally posted 11:10 a.m., July 1, 2014

Former UNC academic adviser Mary Willingham says she has filed a civil lawsuit against the University and asked the university system’s governing board to reinstate her.

Willingham is known as the whistle blower who told CNN in January that UNC admitted athletes who were not academically eligible, and that, in turn, the University is unjustly using athletes for financial gains. She says now that the NCAA has decided to return to campus, she doesn’t want it to hand out further punishment, but instead to use the opportunity to “reform the entire system.”

Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs at UNC, Joel Curran said, “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is aware of the lawsuit filed by former employee Mary Willingham. We respect the right of any current or former employee to speak out on important University and national issues. We believe the facts will demonstrate that Ms. Willingham was treated fairly and appropriately while she was employed at Carolina.”

Willingham told WRAL’s Julia Sims that she has asked to be reinstated by the Board of Governors. In early May, she shared on her website that she had resigned from UNC. She first said she made the decision to leave on April 21 after an hour-long meeting with Chancellor Carol Folt. She said the conversation made her realize there was no more she could do at UNC and that she wanted to continue her fight to correct problems with intercollegiate athletics elsewhere.

Now Willingham says she believes “the NCAA will need some serious help from our historians at UNC (since so many years have passed).”

The NCAA told the University Monday that it has reopened its 2011 investigation that led to punishments handed out to the UNC football team. The team was put on probation until 2015, stripped of 15 scholarships over a three-year period, and ineligible for postseason play for one season.

The intercollegiate association says it reopened the investigation because people who were previously unwilling to speak with them may now be available.

One of those people is former UNC basketball standout Rashad McCants. He told ESPN’s Outside the Lines in early June 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.

Former assistant attorney general for national security and partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Kenneth Wainstein was hired by the University in January to conduct an external review of any and all academic irregularities. In an update of his investigation given to the Board of Governors on June 20, Wainstein said McCants previously declined to be interview. He said, since the ESPN interviews, another request for an interview has been sent to McCants in hopes that he’s now willing to speak.

Wainstein has also been able to speak with Julius Nyang’oro, the former chair of the African and Afro-American Studies department and his department administrator, Deborah Crowder in his review. Those individuals were quiet during the NCAA’s initial investigation and all other inquiries until Wainstein arrived on campus.

Willingham told WCHL that she and UNC history professor Jay Smith are filing their manuscript with their publisher Tuesday morning before she travels to Washington, D.C. There she says she plans to lobby for athletic reform with meetings scheduled all day Wednesday. She says she doesn’t have any hearings scheduled in D.C. at this time.

The book Smith and Willingham are collaborating on is about the history of the academic scandal at UNC in the African and Afro-American studies department and the illiteracy problems at UNC and at colleges and universities across the nation.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/willingham-sues-unc-asks-reinstatement/

“It’s Not About Me”

Rashad McCants isn’t backing down with his side of the story claiming the UNC men’s basketball team is connected in the academic scandal, but he says the media is highlighting the wrong part of the story.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the future generation of all student-athletes,” McCants said in an interview with Andy Katz on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Wednesday. “I feel like the media’s perpetuating this joust between myself and Roy Williams and the basketball program. It’s not about that.”

***Listen to the Interview***

The former UNC men’s basketball star, who was on the 2005 National Championship team, originally appeared on “Outside the Lines” Friday as the first basketball player to address a connection between that sport at UNC and the academic scandal. He was also the first to claim that head coach Roy Williams had knowledge of the issue.

The night following McCants’ interview, 16 former teammates wrote a letter in support of Coach Williams denying any connection.

The He-Said-He-Said

McCants says those players should be held accountable.

“Show your transcripts,” McCants says.

UNC School of Journalism professor, Charlie Tuggle also said recently on WCHL that those former UNC athletes should release their transcripts to backup their statement: click here.

Former UNC academic advisor, Mary Willingham has also shared that sentiment.

Wednesday, McCants spread some of the heat out to other members involved as well, saying Coach Williams wasn’t the only one to blame.

“Steve (Delsohn) did not ask how much did I think Matt Doherty knew about these paper classes,” McCants says. “Matt Doherty was the coach before Roy Williams. This doesn’t just hold true to Roy Williams and point the finger at him because he’s a Hall-of-Fame coach. This is a system, and everybody plays a part in the system. So, everybody’s accountable, whether it’s Roy, whether it’s Dean (Smith), whether it’s whoever at any institution.”

While McCants was pointing fingers at those he says were orchestrating the actions, he says he takes responsibility only because of his naivety.

“How much responsibility do you bear in your own admitted academic fraud within this situation?” Katz asks McCants.

“A hundred percent,” McCants responds. “I was a participant, but I was also 17 years old. I was being ushered into a system that I thought was a part of the system.”

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/accountability/

McCants Has More To Say

Rashad McCants is returning to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” live Wednesday afternoon.

It is unknown what new information McCants has to share. The Twitter account for “Outside the Lines” shared Wednesday morning of the reappearance.

In an interview Friday, McCants said that tutors wrote papers for him and he remained eligible only because of “paper classes” that required no attendance – and that his coaches, including Williams, were fully aware of what was going on.

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.

Tune in to the WCHL Afternoon and Evening News with Aaron Keck beginning at 3:00 p.m. for follow-up to the McCants interview.

The He-Said-He-Said

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/mccants-say/

Jay Bilas: “I Believe Roy Williams”

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas says he believes Roy Williams’ accounts that refute his knowledge of Rashad McCants getting help to remain eligible while at UNC.

“I find him to be credible, and I believed what he was saying,” Bilas says. “The idea, somehow, that a coach—especially when you go back to 2005—would know about the players’ choices in classes and electives when they’re juniors, I don’t believe that’s the case, and I believe Roy Williams.”

Those comments were made on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Monday after airing a longer segment of the interview between Bilas and Williams, which originally aired Saturday. Bilas joined Andy Katz on the phone following the taped interview, giving his reaction to Williams’ remarks.

***Listen to Bilas’ Complete Reaction***

“I’ve known Roy Williams for a long time,” Bilas says. “I have known him not only to be a coach but a man of the highest integrity.”

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.”

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. A number of those players, and others, were in the room during the interview between Bilas and Williams to continue to show their support for their coach. Among them were Sean May, Tyler Hansborough, and Tyler Zeller.

Less than 24 hours after “Outside the Lines” aired the McCants interview, Coach Williams responded with the interview with Bilas.

Bilas went on to say the allegation that Williams knew of the specific classes McCants took or any of the players were taking was hard to believe, especially giving the timing.

“The issue really was, McCants declared to go pro in the middle of that (junior) semester and was gone by the time his grades came out,” Bilas says. “So, to expect the coaching staff, somehow, to have their antenna up for that in 2005, I think, is asking a little too much, and I think the context of that time period is very important.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/jay-bilas-believe-roy-williams/

The He-Said-He-Said

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.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/said-said/

Heels To Be Featured In Three ‘Big Mondays’

CHAPEL HILL– The UNC men’s basketball team will be getting plenty of national attention this coming season.

On Wednesday, ESPN announced its “Big Monday” TV lineup and the Tar Heels will be showcased in three of those games.

Carolina will play on January 20 in the Dean Dome against the Virginia Cavaliers, February 17 at the Florida State Seminoles, and March 3 back in Chapel Hill against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

The contest against the Irish will be one of the season’s highlights as it will mark the first time the squads have played since the 2008 Maui Invitational championship game.

 

The complete Big Monday lineup includes:

Jan. 13 – Virginia at Duke

Jan. 20 – North Carolina at Virginia

Jan. 27 ­- Duke at Pittsburgh

Feb. 3 – Notre Dame at Syracuse

Feb. 10 – Maryland at Virginia

Feb. 17 – North Carolina at FloridaState

Feb. 24 – Syracuse at Maryland

March 3 – Notre Dame at North Carolina

 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/heels-will-feature-in-three-big-mondays/

Mike Fox ‘Sets The Record Straight’

CHAPEL HILL – Head Coach Mike Fox said game three of this weekend’s nationally-televised series between No. 1 UNC and No. 6 N.C. State might have gone on if it had been rescheduled for earlier in the day, but ESPN insisted on sticking to the original time–and Coach Fox was not happy about it.

“I’ll set the record straight here,” Coach Fox said. “The bottom line is that ESPN had the right to the game, and they evoked that right to play it at 7:00, and they were not interested in moving it even though it was pretty clear that it looked like it was going to rain. So, it wasn’t N.C. State; it wasn’t us; it was television having the rights to the game. That’s the contract the ACC signed in all their sports. To my knowledge, there was very little negotiation. They were asked to be flexible on the time, and they did not do that.”

Coach Fox made those comments on his weekly radio show Monday night on WCHL.

The Tar Heels are back in action on Wednesday, hosting The Citadel in Boshamer Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.; you can catch all the action on 97.9 FM, WCHL.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/mike-fox-sets-the-record-straight/