Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ex-players stick up for Roy Williams


Some of Roy Williams’ former Kansas University basketball players were quick to stand up for their coach Saturday in the wake of allegations from disgruntled former North Carolina player Rashad McCants, who alleged Williams was aware of no-show courses in the Afro- and African-American Studies Department at UNC.

McCants, a key member of the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title team, also alleged tutors wrote his term papers and Williams was behind switching a passing summer course grade with a failing grade to keep him eligible. Williams has denied wrongdoing.

“I will stand by coach Williams 100 percent. As many times I had to get my butt out of bed and go to class, no way I could believe any of that,” former KU guard Billy Thomas told the Journal-World.

“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 things (UNC 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?” Thomas added.

McCants’ UNC teammates all signed a document indicating they did their own coursework under Williams in earning their degrees.

“I don’t know Rashad McCants. To say coach Williams knew and tried to sneak his way through it (college) would go against everything I’ve known about him in 20 plus years,” former KU guard Ryan 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,” Robertson added.

“The bigger question is why do it or why now?” he added of McCants speaking out.

“I’d just say to me the allegations are false and completely unfounded in my experience with coach Williams,” added Robertson, who said Williams has told him the only photos of individual players in his UNC office are those of his academic All-Americans.

Former KU guards Keith Langford and Rex Walters took to Twitter to speak in support of Williams.

“I absolutely stand by Roy Williams and academic advisor Wayne Walden, both of whom I was with at KU. I don’t believe McCants for one second!” Langford wrote.

“There are a few people that do it right and also win at the highest levels in college basketball and without a doubt coach Roy Williams is just that man,” wrote Walters.

Former KU and UNC academic adviser Walden has also been mentioned in articles involving past academic problems at UNC.

“If I had to judge the most ethical people I ever met in my life, Wayne Walden would be in the top two or three,” Robertson said. “He’s one of the most ethical people I’ve ever been around.”

Noted Thomas: “Wayne, more so than anybody, was behind pushing me to make sure I graduated. When I got my degree (in 2013), he’s one of the first people I called when I walked The Hill. He said it meant the world to him that I reached out to him.”

Thomas, who started out in crime and delinquency and finished with a degree in African American Studies, laughed when told the African American Studies department was under siege at Carolina.

“If that was the case (improprieties in program at KU), I would have had that degree a long time ago,” Thomas said. “That’s in no way possible (at KU).”


Bryce Landon 4 years ago

Roy Williams has been blessed to coach a lot of great players with high character in 26 years at KU and UNC, but every barrel has its bad apples, and Rashad McCants sounds like one of them.

Freedman Moor 4 years ago

I'm Facebook friends with McCants' father. I've heard stuff about Roy that I had been suspicious of for a while. He gave Marvin Williams a heads up that he was leaving KU for NC and he bad-mouthed McCants to every NBM GM because he was angry that McCants played a part in getting Doherty fired. For McCants, this is payback.

Erich Hartmann 4 years ago

Interesting divide evident here, that KU players are talking about their Roy+KU experiences, while the allegations are about UNC, not KU. Who knows the academic pressures in the UNC world, behind the scenes? I bet Bernadette Gray-Little knows... And if Roy does know, why would he ever admit it?

I'm glad KU's standards are what they seem to be (high), but there is no doubt a TON of tutoring and shepherding goes on, as it should, I suppose.

We dont know much about UNC's standards, though...

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Glad to see Billy & Ryan speak the truth about Wayne as well. He is a noble man. If there were improprieties at UNC, they were done behind his back. Speaks volumes that coach would take him to UNC. Lots of tutoring, but not cheating.

Scott Oswalt 4 years ago

It's puzzling because the UNC football program just got in trouble for this. I wouldn't doubt that Roy knew something was going on.

Jeff Darby 4 years ago

I attended Kansas University in the early 90's at the same time Greg Ostertag was a starting center for the basketball team. Roy Williams was the coach. Anyway, I had a psychology class at the same time and same days and in the same building that Greg had an English class. I would always see him strolling to class. He was hard to miss. He was 7' 2'' and about 280 lbs or so. Needless to say, he NEVER had a backpack, a book, , a notebook, and as far as I know, a pencil or pen on him. He was always walking leisurely to class with his hands in his pockets wearing his KU windbreakers on with no evidence of being prepared for class at all. Anyone who has been to college knows that a typical college is usually weighed down with their textbooks, notebooks, supplies, coffee mugs, etc., wherever they go. Trust me, this wasn't a onetime observation, this was every time I saw him going to class for the entire semester. Its like he didn't even at least try to look like he was at least doing his studies. I'm not naïve enough to know that doesn't go on everywhere at every DI school but it doesn't surprise me to hear that Roy Williams was involved in this story involving Rashaad McCants...

Aaron Paisley 4 years ago

I had classes at KU that were discussion based and only reason I took anything to those classes was because I usually had another class right after. Unless you know what the format of that particular class was, how do you know if Ostertag even needed supplies for that class?

Jeffrey Grady 4 years ago

Jeff Darby, I hate to disrespect your comments in public. But IMO they are extremely bigoted. Based on your statement, if you put a pencil behind Ostertag's ear, hang a pack on his back, and place a coffee mug in his hand, then he would possess "real student" status.

Alex Staley 4 years ago

I attended from 06-09. I will say this: I had athletes from basketball and football in my business classes. If they weren't traveling, they were ALWAYS there. The class-checkers that someone mentioned are real. They would wait outside the door at the end of class and the athlete would have to come out and initial to prove they attended.

KJ Quartermaine 4 years ago

Rashad isn't the first and probably won't be the last former Carolina athlete to make a cheating allegation against the athletic department. Whether Roi knew about this or not, the ENTIRE Carolina athletic department is on shaky ground right now. And now, Roi's post-KU legacy is forever tarnished, in my opinion, AND PLEASE, Suzie Marshall, your 2 cents are not welcome on my comments, stay away Suzie

KJ Quartermaine 4 years ago

Hate to break this to you Jeffrey Grady, but typically in college, you need pencils and or a pen, and notebook, at the very least, in order to take notes and pass a class with a decent grade. Yes, of course any college student would need supplies. I was not aware Ostertag had a photographic memory

Janet Olin 4 years ago

I was mad when Roy left like most KU fans (madder at Dean for disrupting KU's Final Four). He was, however, the epitome of honesty, integrity, and playing the game the 'right way'. His son and former AD Fredrick's son were academic stars in Lawrence and walked on to play @UNC. Coach keeps photos of his Academic All-America players on his desk. No flipping way Coach was aware of or party to academic fraud. McCants made a huge error here. May that heinous judgement come back on McCants and bite him where it hurts.

Janet Olin 4 years ago

Additionally, there has been a class checker system for years @KU. Checkers wait at the door of the classroom when it's over and make the athlete initial that they were there. Coaches know quickly if anybody was late or absent. I can't speak to Ostertag's days, but I believe Coach Self has 7 yrs. straight perfect graduation rates, lets it be known if a player jeopardizes that, he is not welcome back to any future events. Coach Williams was tough like that, too.

Greg Lux 4 years ago

I have known Roy Williams (the Man) since he first came to KU. His character is unquestionable when it comes to matters of standards. He was then and is today probably in the top 2 of the most honest and caring coaches I have ever known. Although he should probably have known about the problems at UNC. I honestly believe he just didn't know. This is a Man and Coach of impeccable character who would never knowingly allow his student athletes to get passing grades from "No Show" classes. I is just not in his character to allow such a thing to go on and allow it to happen. He is without a doubt one of the finest men I have ever had the pleasure to know personally.

Yonatan Negash 4 years ago

I’m sensing some naivety with some of the posters on this blog. If you're the head basketball coach at one of the most prominent basketball programs in the Nation, how do you not know the academic performance, status, standing and eligibility of your athletes? That’s like you getting caught speeding in your own neighborhood (less than a block away from your house) and than telling the cop that you didn’t know the speed limit….good luck getting out of that one.

For those not as familiar with the AFAM Independent Classes scandale at UNC, please note Rashad McCant’s transcripts are proof that he showed constant struggles passing classes other than AFAM independent classes. Every time, Rashad attempted to take non AFAM classes, he either failed or got close to failing. Typical grades earned were either an F or D. Which ultimately meant, lower Grade Point Average, and getting closer to being ineligible.

As the kid noticeable failed enough classes, the coaches would typically intervene (normal process in college sports) to warn the athlete about his/her eligibility status. Then of course, the coaches would make their recommendation on how to get their players to remain eligible. Which would mean, recommending Rashard take more of the classes he had success passing, in this case more AFAM Independent classes?

I don't know Rashad McCant but I believe all coaches knew about the AFAM independent classes at UNC. That includes yours truly, Roy Williams.

I seriously doubt AFAM classes or similar programs are only offered at UNC. If I'm not mistaken, most of our players at KU graduate with African American Studies degrees. These degrees have little to no value. But you have to ask yourself, why are most African American college Athletes steered to take these classes or majors?

Jonathan Allison 4 years ago

To me the question is not about the African American Studies courses themselves. It's not about whether or not these courses had lectures and if the athletes had to attend, and whether or not the students had to do more than submit a term paper for credit by the end of the semester.

It's about who wrote the papers and whether or not the basketball staff and athletic department knew that players were having their papers written for them.

It's also about what was the grading criteria for the papers that were turned in for credit. If any paper which was turned in for credit by an athlete was graded as an automatic "A" and the criteria was different for non-student athletes who enrolled in the courses, then that is also academic fraud, and if that is the case, how much did athletic department and staff know about it.

It's possible that Williams didn't know who was writing the student's papers. It's also possible that he didn't know if the students were being given automatic As for any academic courses.

Even if he did know, Roy Williams likely can claim ignorance in this case, and protect his reputation, but that doesn't mean that he is free of blame and that the program will go unpunished. If the fraud occured, then the team and school will be punished whether Roy knew about it or not.

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