Tag: academic scandal


Criticism of McCants ripped by UNC professor, Wayne Walden’s name mentioned again


Last weekend, Rashad McCants went on Sirius XM and told Mark Packer’s radio show that he would be getting $310 million in checks from the NCAA and North Carolina after his very public comments regarding North Carolina’s reignited academic scandal.

That came on the heels of a pair of appearances on ESPN’s Outside The Lines trumpeting the same story: he had a completely fraudulent 4.0 GPA during North Carolina’s run to the 2005 national title, and it’s an example of everything that is wrong with college athletics framing their players as “student”-athletes.

His comments on Packer’s show went viral, and as you might imagine, generated quite a bit of response from other former Tar Heels. Players that starred under Dean Smith four decades ago ripped McCants to Yahoo Sports, while Antawn Jamison called McCants a “clown”.

That apparently rankled UNC history professor Jay Smith, who is writing a book called, “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports”, because he let loose with a vitriolic rant in an email to Yahoo’s Pat Forde. Smith discusses the lack of McCants’ former teammates that have been willing to allow their transcripts to be made public and points out that Ken Wainstein, the independent investigator looking into the scandal, will have access to those transcripts.

He also makes a point to say that McCants’ unwillingness to talk to the NCAA or UNC is evidence that he’s uninterested in getting the school punished as much as he is concerned with making a change to the future of how college sports operates.

But his most interesting comments have to do with Wayne Walden, a character whose name popped up in this scandal two years ago. From Forde’s story:

“When Roy Williams came here from Kansas, he brought with him the team academic counselor who had served him so well at Kansas: Wayne Walden,” Smith wrote. “He regarded Walden as such a vital contributor to the good fortunes of his teams that he was practically moved to tears when Walden departed in 2009. Walden knew every detail about the academic lives of those players; he had to. He registered them for their courses, for crying out loud. [And that means he got on the phone with the Department of African and Afro-American Studies and he put them in paper classes.] Walden also spoke with Williams every day; he had to. Williams’ claim that he had no earthly idea that his players were floating along on paper classes – and that he never would have guessed that one of his stars was enrolled in four no-show classes in the spring of 2005 – is nothing more than a confidence trick. He’s counting on the customary journalistic favoritism, and journalists’ amazing lack of curiosity, to enable him to tell this whopper and walk away with his aura intact. We’ll see if that works.”

Two years ago, The Big Lead took a look at Walden and his connection with Roy Williams at Kansas and North Carolina. Walden left in 2009, a year before the academic scandal truly erupted.

UNC academic scandal deepens, staffer says some Tar Heel athletes she oversaw had never read a book

Roy Williams

University of North Carolina reading specialist Mary Willingham has worked with Tar Heel athletes who, she says, told her they had never read a book and could not identify what a paragraph was, the News & Observer is reporting.

It’s the latest chapter in the academic fraud scandal at UNC that, despite objections from Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams, seems to ensnare members of his men’s basketball program.

According to the report, “members of the men’s basketball team took no-show classes until the fall semester of 2009, when the team was assigned a new academic counselor. The new counselor was appalled to learn of the classes, and wanted no part of them.” At that time, enrollment of basketball players in those classes stopped, but enrollment for football players continued.

Also among the assertions made by Willingham are that “numerous football and basketball players came to the university with academic histories that showed them incapable of doing college-level work, especially at one of the nation’s top public universities.”

Tests and evaluations of the athletes confirmed this and even revealed learning disabilities that would require extensive help to treat.

Before the academic happenings at North Carolina became major news in recent months, the News & Observer reports that senior associate dean Bobbi Owens worked to rein in independent study classes that were popular with football and basketball players.

Since that move five years ago, enrollment in those courses has sharply declined.

To read the entire report, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Football-centric UNC academic scandal deepens, but Tar Heel hoops mentioned again


The majority of the recent academic scandal at North Carolina has centered around the possible misdeeds of the football program, but a new report, released Saturday, keeps UNC basketball from completely disassociating itself from the situation, at least for now.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the scandal centers around the legitimacy of a particular summer course, AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina, and the conduct of one professor, Julius Nyang’oro, the longtime chairman of the African and Afro-American Studies Department.

Roy Williams spoke last month on the issue, quick to defend his players in the face of an investigation.

“The players were eligible to be enrolled in those classes, as were non-student-athletes, and they did the work that was assigned to them,” Williams told the N&O through an athletic department spokesman.

Now, according to this newest report, records show that the legitimacy of nine classes are of particular interest and the professors listed for these classes have denied involvement, claiming their “signatures were forged on records related to them.”

The classes in question included a majority of football and basketball players.

“I just think this has uncovered some information that quite frankly, the university, we’re not proud of,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham told the paper. “But we’ll continue to work to ensure that it doesn’t happen going forward.”

To read the entire report, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_