The following are statements from University of North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams and director of athletics Bubba Cunningham regarding today's ESPN story:
UNC Head Men's Basketball Coach Roy Williams
"Our players have been deeply hurt over the last couple of years, and again today, by the comments and innuendo concerning their academic achievements. The young men who accepted scholarships to play basketball at this University have done so expecting a world-class basketball experience, in addition to a world-class education. Obviously, we pride ourselves on being one of the top basketball programs in the country, but equally important, in helping our players grow academically and socially, as we promised their parents we would.
Our student-athletes understand the value of a degree from the University of North Carolina and accept their academic responsibilities in earning that degree. They take seriously their efforts to, in some cases, become the first member of their families to graduate from college.
I love them for all they have meant to UNC and to me, and I will continue to believe in and support them.
With respect to the comments made today, I strongly disagree with what Rashad (McCants) has said. In no way did I know about or do anything close to what he says and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me. I have spent 63 years on this earth trying to do things the right way and the picture he portrays is not fair to the University or me."
Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham
"It is disappointing any time a student is dissatisfied with his or her experience. I welcome the opportunity to speak with Rashad McCants about returning to UNC to continue his academic career - just as we have welcomed many former student-athletes interested in completing their degrees.
The University hired former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein in January to conduct an independent investigation into past academic and athletic irregularities. While these are the first allegations we have heard from Mr. McCants, I encourage him to speak with Mr. Wainstein. We are confident Mr. Wainstein's inquiry will provide us with a full understanding of these issues.
Since becoming Carolina's director of athletics, I have gotten to know some of Mr. McCants' teammates, and I know that claims about their academic experience have affected them deeply. They are adamant that they had a different experience at UNC-Chapel Hill than has been portrayed by Mr. McCants and others. I am impressed with their love for Carolina and passion for their education. Several of them have continued to take classes and finish their degrees and all of them are proud of their academic achievements. We, too, are proud of them."