CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach Roy Williams said this morning that his basketball players have not had contact with the tutor who is being investigated for possible academic misconduct with football players.
In an interview with The News & Observer, Williams said no one can ever be 100 percent sure that the school's academic investigation won't carry over to other programs.
"But I have, since the news has been out there, checked with our people to see if we had anybody involved with that specific tutor; is this something that I'm going to get a call about in the middle of the night?" he said. "And I've been assured that it's not going to be a call I'm going get in the middle of the night, and I've been assured that there has not been any contact with that particular tutor. That's as far as I can go; that's as far as they want me to ask. They want me to keep my nose out of it, and I'm trying to do that - and gladly doing that, to be honest with you."
The football program is currently mired in two investigations. The NCAA, since early July, has been looking into the Tar Heels' possible improper contact with agents. Last week, the school also launched a probe into whether a tutor - who formerly worked for both UNC, and head football coach Butch Davis - gave improper help to football players with papers written for class.
Athletics director Dick Baddour said the school's investigative team has been working around the clock to try to come to as much resolution for as many football players as possible before the No. 18 Tar Heels open the season in Atlanta on Saturday against No. 21 LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. Asked Wednesday the if the unidentified tutor had worked with other athletes besides football players, Baddour said: "I can't tell you that. That is still part of our own review, and until I'm in a position to have an opportunity to examine that in a thorough way, I think it's best that I not identify any other team."
Williams, whose team begins basketball practice next month, called the investigations "a very sad day for us in North Carolina athletics, North Carolina fans - there's no question about that."
"But Dick Baddour and Chancellor [Holden] Thorp, I think they've been great,'' he added. "I think they're researching everything with as much due diligence as you can possibly do, and I just feel very strongly about the leadership of the University, and we're going to come out of this as positively as it can possibly be done - knowing that it's not going to be great. But I do believe that the integrity, and the academic integrity, especially, that this University has stood for a long time, is being questioned right now, and I think everyone is taking it very seriously."
Does he worry that if the reputation of another UNC program is tarnished, that it will carry over to his program?
"Well, everybody's worried about our football program right now, because they're the one under the gun,'' Williams said. "Everybody's concerned about what the perception might be, but there's nothing we can do about it except let Chancellor Thorp and Dickie go through the process. They're both extremely bright and love this University, and at the end, we're not going to be happy by any means. But at the end, I think we'll be very proud about the way they conducted things."