Roy Williams says he's confident in the academic side of his North Carolina basketball program. PHOTO: Robert Willett
CHAPEL HILL — Roy Williams gave a radio interview earlier today with Taylor Zarzour and Marc James, who co-host “The Drive” on 610-AM in Charlotte. If you haven’t heard it already, be sure to give it a listen right here.
As you’d expect, Williams was asked for his opinions on the ongoing academic scandal at North Carolina, one that started out as an internal investigation of the university’s African and Afro-American Studies department. That investigation, of course, uncovered 54 aberrant AFAM courses, and it raised questions about the role the AFAM department might have played in keeping UNC athletes eligible.
The latest in this ongoing saga transpired earlier this week when Julius Peppers’ UNC academic transcript somehow became public after it had been posted on the school’s website. Peppers, an AFAM major, struggled through most of his non-AFAM courses, but he performed unusually well – relative to the rest of his grades – in most of his AFAM classes.
Williams spoke about the Peppers situation and other issues during the interview earlier today. Here’s what he told Zarzour and James about a variety of topics:
-on his opinions on the latest developments related to the AFAM scandal, including Peppers’ transcript becoming public:
“Yeah, everybody wants my opinion, I don’t want to give it. This is the good thing about America. You know, I’m bothered by a lot of stuff. I’m bothered by some sensationalism that’s going on. I’m bothered by problems that we have. I’m bothered by mistakes that we have made. But you know, I think in my own opinion it’s best for me to keep my mouth shut and let our administrative people take care of it.
“We’re trying to do a lot of research on our end of it, and the things that we are in control of. We’re going to continue trying to do that. But it’s something that I am bothered by it. I am worried about it. A little discouraged about it to say the least. But the bottom line is, there’s nothing I can do about it. And I do think, I have some very strong opinions and yet as soon as I make some strong opinions or anything, then everybody decides to take their bow and arrow and a shotgun and a machine gun and the bazooka and everything out. But for me, I’m going to wait and see what happens at the end, and let those people that are supposed to be taking care of it, take care of it.
“But it’s not something that I’m enjoying, I can tell you that.”
-on whether he was aware of any of these kinds of issues he arrived at UNC nine years ago:
“Marc, I’m not sure I understand exactly what you said but I’ll answer it this way – but again I’m not sure exactly what you asked there, and it’s not probably anything wrong with the question, just maybe my intelligence. But you know, when I came back I felt great about the University of North Carolina [and] still feel great about the University of North Carolina. I got a great education there. My wife did, my son did, my daughter did.
“We’ve been there nine years and I think I’m right in saying this that every senior we’ve had has received their degree. Our kids have done the work, they’ve done some great jobs. Tyler Zeller this year was the academic all-American player of the year. We still emphasize the academic side of it a great deal. It’ll always be that way. So you’re talking to a guy who absolutely loves the University of North Carolina. And it’s been that way since the fall of 1968 when I stepped foot on the campus.
“But there have been some mistakes made, I don’t think you can put your head in the sand and say, oh, we’re all right – it’s just people making things up. I’m not saying that. There’s been some mistakes made, and there’s been some serious mistakes. But I do think that some of it has been a little sensationalized, also.”
-on being as sure as he can be that things are done the right way in the UNC basketball program:
“No question about it. Our track record is pretty doggone good. And our track record has been pretty doggone good for 15 years at Kansas, nine years at North Carolina. And we know how much we emphasize the academic side in the basketball office. We know what our guys are majoring in. We know – every day we’re in touch with those kids. So it’s something, again, that I’m very proud of.
“And am I going to sit here and say there is absolutely no way nothing will ever happen? Nothing will ever show up? We don’t know what’s going on every day. I mean, I’ve got 13 to 17 kids, counting the walk-ons and things like that. You don’t know. But boy, I feel really, really good about what’s happened academically in the basketball program since we came.”
So there you have it.