McCants: "Student athletes need a defense system." pic.twitter.com/SMAmho08I0— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) June 11, 2014
The academic/athletic scandal at North Carolina is being kept alive and in conversation in large part because Rashad McCants is the one initiating dialogue. He opened up again on Wednesday -- five days removed from his first sit-down with ESPN -- to speak live on the network's
"Everything that I've said is the truth," McCants said.
Over the course of a 20-minute interview, McCants reiterated his position that he took "paper classes" in 2004-05 that only required him to hand in one paper at the end of the semester. In some cases, McCants claims, tutors were the ones who wrote those papers for him and some of his teammates.
"I'm not going to name names because it's irrelevant," McCants said Wednesday when he was asked who else was involved. "These guys are there to protect Roy (Williams) and his legacy. I'm here to protect student-athletes."
McCants was questioned as to why no one else on the 2004-05 UNC team has supported his claims. His response: "Show your transcripts."
McCants also questioned UNC coach Roy Williams' integrity, asked former college/NBA veteran Jalen Rose to appear on the show, and wore a shirt to signify his new crusade: to stand up and help defend the rights of college players.
Williams put out a statement on Friday that denied McCants' claims. He then did a sit-down with ESPN's Jay Bilas in which he addressed McCants accusations. When asked about McCants' fake classes -- or the possible nefarious academic doings of anyone else on the UNC basketball team in the past -- Williams said, "I have no idea. "I don't sit in the classroom, I don't turn in their papers, but I find that impossible to believe."
Williams also said he "did not have that knowledge" in regard to players' classes and did not "have control over the academic side." McCants claims he had a meeting with Williams during his junior season -- when UNC won the national title -- and inferred there was an understanding that McCants' grades could and would be turned around. Williams said he does not remember having the meeting.
"Maybe he's getting a little old," McCants said Wednesday. "I don't have any control over what he remembers. All I know is the truth, and I'm not up here to lie about anything."
He added that he's not had a relationship with his former teammates nor had much -- if any -- contact with Williams ever since opting to leave school for the NBA after his junior season in 2005. But he did add that he's not necessarily out to get Williams and that he feels “like the media is perpetuating this joust between myself and Roy Williams and the basketball program."
Moments later, McCants said, "If Roy Williams doesn't step up, take responsibility … how is it that you're not accountable for [things] happening off the floor?"
McCants' motivation here lies with an unexpected desire to speak up and bolster rights of former and current college players. He cited UConn's Shabazz Napier -- who made comments critical of the NCAA earlier this spring -- as evidence that "the system" is still in need of a major overhaul. He mentioned that players are not fed enough and not paid sufficiently. Amid all this, he still attacked North Carolina.
“The university has not stepped forth to say anything," McCants said. "This was not an athletic accusation. This was an academic truth."