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Former Minnesota Timberwolves first-round draft choice Rashad McCants told ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that his road from college to the NBA was paved by bogus classes at the University of North Carolina.
In a 90-minute interview, OTL learned that McCants rarely went to class, but with the help of tutors writing his term papers, he was able to remain academically eligible.
In addition, McCants said UNC head coach Roy Williams, whose 724 career wins rank 14th in Division I basketball history, was "100 percent" aware of the "paper-class" system.
“I thought it was a part of the college experience, just like watching it on a movie from ‘He Got Game’ or ‘Blue Chips,’” McCants said. “… when you get to college, you don’t go to class, you don’t do nothing, you just show up and play. That’s exactly how it was, you know, and I think that was the tradition of college basketball, or college, period, any sport. You’re not there to get an education, though they tell you that.
“You’re there to make revenue for the college. You’re there to put fans in the seats. You’re there to bring prestige to the university by winning games.”
McCants was the second leading scorer on North Carolina's 2004-05 national championship team, and he made the Dean's List even though he admittedly rarely went to class.
The paper-class system made it easy for players to pass a class. Instead of attending a session, players simply had to write one term paper.
UNC's basketball program went without punishment after reports in 2011 began to indicate widespread academic fraud throughout the university's athletic programs. The Tar Heel football program was banned from postseason play in 2012 and placed on three years probation, according to ESPN.
Minnesotans are familiar with what McCants is saying. The Gophers men's basketball team was placed on four years probation after an NCAA investigation found that academic fraud took place under head coach Clem Haskins from 1993-1998.
All Gophers postseason appearances, including a memorable run to the 1996-97 Final Four, were erased.
McCants played four seasons with the Wolves before being traded to Sacramento in 2009. He currently is not on an NBA roster.