Roy Williams defends players who enrolled in dubious classes at UNC

acarter@newsobserver.comMay 9, 2012 

UNC06-SP-062111-RTW

UNC head coach Roy Williams fields questions about the prospects for his 2011-12 team during his annual summer press conference on Tuesday June 21, 2011 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com

— North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams on Tuesday defended his players who were enrolled in classes at the center of an internal university investigation of academic fraud and improprieties.

“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 said through an athletic department spokesman.

UNC on Friday released the results of an investigation that found widespread academic fraud in 54 classes offered by UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The investigation found evidence of unauthorized grade changes, no-show professors and an absence of instruction in dozens of classes.

According to figures the university released on Monday, football and men’s basketball players accounted for nearly 40 percent of students enrolled in the scrutinized courses. There were 686 enrollments in those 54 classes and, of those, football players accounted for 246 enrollments while basketball players accounted for 23 enrollments.

UNC’s investigation found no evidence that the problem courses were part of a scheme to keep athletes eligible. The investigation also concluded that athletes did not receive preferential treatment.

UNC shared its report with the NCAA, but it was unclear on Tuesday whether the NCAA’s enforcement staff would investigate further. Steve Kirschner, a UNC athletic department spokesman, said Tuesday that the university had received no communication from the NCAA about the university’s report.

In March, the NCAA Committee on Infractions gave its final ruling on a scandal that tarnished the UNC football program, led to the firing of former coach Butch Davis and the early retirement of former athletic director Dick Baddour. For violations that included impermissible benefits and academic fraud, the UNC football team received a one-year postseason ban, among other sanctions.

Several calls and emails to members of the NCAA infractions committee went unreturned Tuesday. NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said the organization would not comment on the findings of UNC’s internal investigation or on the possibility that the NCAA’s enforcement staff would examine the university’s findings.

Carter: 919-829-8944

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