Rashad McCants fired back at his critics Wednesday, saying North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams may be "getting a little old" and challenging fellow Tar Heels to "show your transcripts."
McCants, the second-leading scorer on the 2005 national championship UNC team, alleges that no-show classes helped keep him eligible and tutors wrote papers for him. Williams has denied any wrongdoing and 16 other players who were on that ’05 squad also denied Williams had any knowledge of the classes in a signed letter.
McCants responded to that show of support by calling on those players to produce their transcripts. However, he stopped short of naming anyone else who was involved.
"I’m not going to name names because it’s irrelevant," McCants said on ESPN’s "Outside The Lines" on Wednesday. "These guys are there to protect Roy and his legacy. I’m here to protect student-athletes."
According to OTL, an unofficial copy of McCants’ transcripts showed that in his African-American studies classes he had 10 A’s, six B’s, one C and one D. But in all other classes, he had six C’s, one D and three F’s.
The Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer, which first exposed academic fraud at UNC in 2011, reports that "five members of that (2004-05) team, including at least four key players, accounted for a combined 39 enrollments in classes that have been identified as confirmed or suspected lecture classes that never met."
Williams denied McCants’ claim that the coach worked to change a grade to keep him eligible during the 2004-05 season, and on the subject of academic fraud, he told ESPN’s Jay Bilas: "I have no idea. I don’t sit in the classroom, I don’t turn in their papers, but I find that impossible to believe."
"Maybe he’s getting a little old," McCants said Wednesday. "I don’t have any control over what he remembers. All I know is the truth, and I’m not up here to lie about anything."
ESPN’s Jalen Rose also pounced on Williams’ claim of ignorance when it comes to academics.
"I respect Roy Williams. He’s a champion. He’s a Hall of Famer," Rose said. "But it almost is a slap in the face to the entire system, to NCAA basketball, to major collegiate sports, that he does not know what classes his kids are: a) taking, and b) the results of those classes, and c) even talked to the students about the update of those classes.
"And I know he’s not deaf, dumb or blind, but when you say that in an interview, it’s going to make a lot of people think that you may think that we are."
Former Kansas players who played under Williams also are standing up for the former Jayhawks coach, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.
"I will stand by Coach Williams 100 percent," former Jayhawks guard Billy Thomas, who played for Williams from 1994-98, told the Journal-World. "As many times I had to get my butt out of bed and go to class, no way I could believe any of that.
"We had class-checkers, people coming by making sure you were there. If you were not in class, the coaches would know (and make players run). You had to sit in front of the class so the class-checker could see you.
"Those (allegations by McCants) are coming from a guy who has had sour grapes a long time. If you’ve got that many players who played for this man, and nobody is agreeing with the one player, what does that tell you?"
Former Jayhawks guard Ryan Robertson (1995-99) also finds McCants’ claims hard to believe.
"I don’t know Rashad McCants. To say Coach Williams knew and tried to sneak his way through it would go against everything I’ve known about him in 20-plus years," Robertson told the Journal-World.
"I remember my freshman year, the maddest I’ve ever seen coach Williams get, and we know he could get fired up, were (concerning) two of my teammates’ semester grades and another instance a guy missed class. He went berserk. If things happened the way Rashad said they did, I’d bet damn near my life coach Williams didn’t know about it."
Two other former Jayhawks, Keith Langford (2001-05) and Rex Walters (1991-93), voiced their support of Williams on Twitter.
An internal investigation by UNC into claims of academic fraud at UNC found that 54 classes in African and African-American studies were "aberrant" or "irregularly" taught from 2007 to 2011. A new investigation has been opened.