Should Academic Fraud Accusations Against UNC Tar Heels By Rashad McCants Even Be A Story?

While a member of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball program, former shooting guard Rashad McCants said that he took “bogus” classes, had tutors write his term papers, made the Dean’s List while rarely attending classes and was a part of the “paper-class” system at UNC, in which players were reportedly allowed to simply turn in one term paper to earn a grade instead of ever going to class. This, according to an “Outside the Lines” report conducted by ESPN.

UNC has already been the target of an academic fraud investigation, although it had primarily been centered around the football team before. McCants has now shed light into the entire athletic department, also stating that head coach Roy Williams and the entire athletic department as a whole knew “100 percent” about the paper-class system.

“I remained eligible to finish out and win the championship, his [Williams’] first championship, and everything was peaches and cream,” McCants said. “I mean, you have to know about the education of your players and … who’s eligible, who’s not and … who goes to this class and missing that class. We had to run sprints for missing classes if we got caught, so you know, they were very aware of what was going on.”

Maybe the Tar Heels were aware of what was happening. Maybe they cared more about winning the 2004-2005 NCAA National Championship more than what their players were learning. Maybe they cared more about bringing in more money to the school than in what classes their players were enrolled. Maybe they treated the athletes differently than regular students.

Then again, is this anything new?

Like it or not, athletes do get special treatment. So do pretty people. So do rich people. The list goes on and on. Fair or not, it happens, Like it or not, it is the truth. It happens in the real world. It happens in the entertainment world. It happens in the business world. Specific people get preferential treatment. It has been this way since the beginning of time.

I am not condoning it by any means, but to say that it only happens at certain universities such as UNC would be naive and ignorant. It happens at many school. It happens at many jobs. It happens at many bars and restaurants. It is the way of the world.

We should at least acknowledge it. Again, we don’t have to like it or agree with it, but we need to admit that it is a thing.

“It’s about my kids, about your kids. It’s about their kids. It’s about knowing the education that I received and knowing that something needs to change,” McCants said. “This has nothing to do with the Carolina fans or the Carolina program. It has everything to do with the system, and Carolina just so happened to be a part of the system and they participated in the system, so in retrospect, you have to look at it and say, ‘Hey, you know what you did wrong.’ Stand up. It’s time for everybody to really just be accountable.”

That is all sweet and everything, that McCants wants to hold everybody accountable. But, as far as ‘the system’ is concerned, it was ‘the system’ that made McCants. It was ‘the system’ that helped McCants remain eligible, win a national championship and make millions of dollars in the NBA.

“If there are Carolina fans that don’t like what’s 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,” he said. “… 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.”

That was not a tragedy. McCants certainly did not feel bad about accepting a free ride and starring on a national stage that propelled him to make a comfortable living. If he truly felt it was wrong, he would have said something nearly 10 years ago.

The true tragedy is thinking that this only happens at certain schools with a handful of people. It happens everywhere. It always has, and it most likely always will.

You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. But, you must accept it.


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About the author

Rob Kelley

Rob Kelley is a sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. He recently resigned as Editor-in-Chief and lead writer for The South Shore Magazine to pursue better opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.