Roy Williams speaks, calls this 'a very sad time' for North Carolina

We made some mistakes for a long time,' Roy Williams said Friday. (USATSI)
'We made some mistakes for a long time,' Roy Williams said Friday. (USATSI)

North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams spoke publicly late Friday for the first time since a report detailing what some have called the worst academic fraud case in NCAA history was released in a development that tarnished UNC's reputation.

"We made some mistakes for a long time," Williams said after a 111-58 win over Fayetteville State in UNC's first exhibition of the season. "It's a very sad time for us."

According to an independent report released Wednesday, the academic fraud that went on for nearly two decades involved more than 1,500 athletes, including 10 members of the UNC team that won the 2005 national championship. Still, Williams insisted Friday he thinks he always "tried to do the right thing," and he explained how he became uncomfortable with his players "clustering" in the same major following the 2004-2005 season, at which point he said he tried to change things.

"I didn't like that we had so many guys in the same major," Williams said during a press conference that lasted roughly 15 minutes. "I didn't think it made sense."

It should be noted that the 131-page report did not directly implicate Williams in any wrongdoing. But Wayne Walden, who came with Williams to North Carolina from Kansas in 2003, was identified as a counselor who steered players into the paper classes.

Williams was asked about Walden late Friday.

He implied he didn't think Walden was fairly categorized in the report, then added: "Wayne Walden is one of the most ethical guys I've ever known in my life. I trust him from the bottom of my soul. ... There's never been anybody more ethical than Wayne Walden."

UNC is now reduced to waiting to see how the NCAA handles things.

There seems to be growing pressure for the governing body to act decisively.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen with the NCAA," Williams said when asked if he's worried the 2005 title might be vacated. "But I feel strongly we did things the right way."

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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