"What he is saying absolutely lines up with what I have found: tutors writing papers for players, and advisers and tutors steering players to AFAM," she said. "I think the coaches knew about the paper-class system. Of course they did."
Former basketball players Wes Miller, Sean May, Damion Grant, Marvin Williams, Wayne Ellington, Byron Sanders, Jackie Manuel, Bobby Frasor and Tyler Hansbrough said after the Williams interview that they had the utmost respect for Williams and his actions, and that their experiences with McCants as a teammate and fellow student differed markedly from what McCants has described.
The players, who spoke passionately about Williams and against the allegations, called McCants a "loner" on and off the court. They said they wrote their own papers and were never steered to any courses by Williams or the coaching staff (McCants had alleged it was academic advisers who did the steering). They deemed simply untrue the McCants allegations that players went to study sessions together after their freshman year or that they went by car in groups to pick up papers written for them by tutors.
Williams said of McCants' allegation that tutors wrote his papers: "I have no idea. I don't sit in the classroom. I don't turn in their papers, but I find that impossible for me to believe."
Williams said he and his staff didn't steer players to courses. When asked his thoughts on McCants' allegation that academic advisers steered players to the AFAM courses and paper classes, he did not address the athletic department or academic advisers but said: "I've never steered any player towards any area. ... What it means to me is you tell a guy, 'You should major in this,' and I've never done that, none of my coaches have ever done that."
A copy of McCants' university transcript, labeled "unofficial" and obtained by "Outside the Lines," shows that in his non-African-American studies classes, McCants received six C's, one D and three F's. In his African-American studies classes, his grades were 10 A's, six B's, one C and one D. The UNC registrar's office declined to send McCants an official, signed transcript because of a May 2005 hold on its release. According to the UNC athletic department, McCants had university property that had never been returned.
McCants, who said it was common for basketball players to major in African-American studies, told "Outside the Lines" that he assumed tutors writing papers for athletes was to be expected and he didn't question it while he attended UNC.
Williams said Saturday that the players he has talked with wrote their own papers and took their academics seriously.
"I know what kind of individual they are," he said. "It's the kind of individual we want to recruit. I trust them. I'm very proud of them. They've known since day one, first day I walked in, that it's expected of them, and they're the kind of kids that expect it of themselves."
McCants left UNC after his third year and played four seasons in the NBA before moving to play overseas. In the 90-minute "Outside the Lines" interview conducted last month, McCants said he is planning to write a book about his basketball and collegiate experience.