CHARLOTTE — University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp said in an interview with The News & Observer last month that the university would likely raise entrance requirements for athletes ahead of a more stringent NCAA policy that will go into effect in 2016.
But Tar Heels basketball coach Roy Williams said here on Wednesday that he was unaware of any imminent changes to UNCs admission standards for athletes.
Im not so sure that everything that appeared is exactly what Chancellor Thorp meant, Williams told reporters at the ACCs annual basketball media day. I personally dont think that anybody in the ACC is going to try to do any of those new measures before everybody else does them.
Beginning in 2016, the NCAA will raise the academic standard for incoming college athletes. Beginning then, athletes will need to graduate high school with a 2.3 GPA instead of the 2.0 thats needed now to be eligible to compete during their freshmen year.
Thorp last month said UNC would likely raise its standards before the NCAAs policy goes into effect.
I suspect that well end up raising our standards ahead of that time, Thorp said. Well be ahead of the curve.
Thorps comments reflected his frustration with academic scandals related to athletics that have tarnished the universitys reputation during the past three years. The NCAAs investigation into academic fraud led to the football teams one-season postseason ban, and the violations also resulted in probation and scholarship reductions.
Thorp during his interview with News & Observer reporters said, Academics are going to have to come first. And its clear that they havent to the extent that they should.
Williams, though, said he was unaware of any increased standards that could be coming for incoming athletes.
I think North Carolina always has some high standards, he said. Were going to always have [high standards]. And Im not against those whatsoever. But I dont see in my own mind, I dont see us just jumping out of the window and doing something crazy now.
Weve had a problem. Were trying to fix the problem. Were making a lot of changes for the problem.
As far as Williams knows, though, those changes dont include increased admittance standards for athletes.
The whole NCAA has got some new entrance requirements that are going into effect, he said. And I think that North Carolina will go along with those. If something is done earlier, I dont have any idea. Nobodys told me were going to do those things.
Thorp did not return a message seeking comment on Wednesday night. Bubba Cunningham, the North Carolina athletic director, said various UNC departments are working together to prepare for the increased NCAA standards. Cunningham said a lot of our [athletes] are already beyond the standard the NCAA will introduce in 2016.
We only admit [athletes] that we think can be successful and well continue to do that, Cunningham said.
Williams last month underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his right kidney, and he had a biopsy two weeks ago on another tumor on his left kidney. Doctors determined both tumors to be benign.
He said he wasnt focused on the potential of increased academic standards for athletes.
Im not worried about that, he said. Four [weeks] ago, guys, I was wondering if I was ever going to freaking coach again. You think Im worried what the hell were doing in 2016?