Roy Williams, former head basketball coach at Kansas University, is currently embroiled in an academic scandal, brought about by the testimony of former North Carolina basketball star, Rashad McCants.
McCants, part of the 2004-2005 national championship team at UNC, stated on “Outside the Lines” last week that he failed courses, rarely attended classes and had term papers written for him by tutors, all while remaining on the Dean’s List and playing for the UNC basketball team.
In an interview with ESPN, Roy Williams, denied allegations that he was aware of McCant’s academic failings and purported cheating, citing “disbelief” and “shock” over the former player’s comments.
Roy Williams coached the Kansas University basketball team from 1988 to 2003, garnering an astounding 80% winning percentage, bettered at KU only by the venerable Phog Allen.
Williams landed the Jayhawks in the Associated Press Top 25 list in 242 out of 268 weeks during his tenure at KU. From 1990-1999, the Jayhawks compiled an impressive record of 260-60, the best of any Division I team in the decade.
Roy also led the Kansas Jayhawks to four Final Fours appearances and two championships, losing to Duke in 1991 and Syracuse in 2003.
Some may remember that during the mid nineties Williams and the Jayhawks held the longest home winning streak at the time, a record of 62-0 from 1994 to 1998.
Except for a few bad NCAA Tournament runs and never winning a national championship, Roy Williams enjoyed nothing but success and adoration while in Lawrence.
Since becoming the head coach at UNC, his alma mater, Williams has experienced periods of great success as well as disappointment.
In the season of 2004-2005, Roy’s first season at UNC resulted in a record of 19-11. And and in 2010, UNC failed to make the NCAA tournament with a record of 16-15, both dismal feats in the eyes of Tar Heel fans.
In 2005 and 2009, Williams finally achieved the penultimate of college basketball coaching, winning national championships in both years. And UNC still ranks in the top five of all-time NCAA college basketball wins, with 2090 victories, just behind Kansas with 2101 and Kentucky with 2111.
Williams is one of the winningest coaches in NCAA college basketball history. And still, he’s having difficulty shaking this academic scandal.
McCants has challenged former UNC players to release academic transcripts from the 2004-2005 season, believing evidence will point to the truth of his allegations.
McCants says, “As a seventeen year old at the University of North Carolina, I had no idea that this was part of the exploitation of student athletes. It’s not about the university of North Carolina basketball program. It’s not about me. It’s about the future generation of all student athletes.”
But former UNC players are standing behind Williams.
In a recent interview with ESPN, sixteen of Williams’ former players stood in solidarity with him, each signing a letter denying McCant’s allegations of academic fraud.
I fondly remember the Roy Williams era of basketball Kansas University. As a child, Roy was the face of Jayhawk basketball. I even attended the “Roy Williams Basketball Camp” as a youngster.
Williams was a role model to me and many others.
I respect the fact that so many of William’s current and former players are standing by him. And this academic scandal doesn’t tarnish my memories of him in the least.
But as always, I’m sure there’s more to the story. Academic fraud such as purported by McCants cannot stand within the NCAA. It does a disservice to student athletes and their future.
I wish Williams the best and hope for an amicable solution, for the sake of current and future NCAA student athletes.