Former UNC-CH athletes want NOA added to court case

Posted January 22, 2015
Updated June 30, 2015

— The notice of allegations sent to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is now the focus of a legal dispute.

Two former student athletes, Rashanda McCants and Devon Ramsay, filed a class-action lawsuit in January against UNC Chapel Hill and the NCAA seeking reforms to ensure other student-athletes get a proper education.

Lawyers for McCants and Ramsay filed a motion in federal court Tuesday asking the judge to admit the NCAA’s report into the case. That report accused the school of offering improper academic benefits to student-athletes as a way to keep them eligible.

The 100-page lawsuit was filed on behalf of former women's basketball player McCants and former football player Ramsay. It seeks educational reforms, including an independent committee in the NCAA to ensure athletes get a proper education, as well as financial compensation for the athletes.

UNC-Chapel Hill Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs Rick White declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying university officials hadn't yet seen it. NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy also declined to comment.

The suit alleges that the NCAA and member institutions breached their duties to the student-athletes "in spectacular fashion," highlighting the no-show class scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein was hired to conduct an outside investigation into academic fraud at the university. His findings showed academic advisers steered student-athletes for 18 years toward classes that never met and required only a short paper to pass in order to keep their grades high enough to remain eligible to play on their teams.

The NCAA should have known about the academic fraud, the lawsuit contends, but the organization sat by as college sports programs "operated as diploma mills."

"They are making millions and millions of dollars for all of these colleges, and the question is, what are (the students) entitled to as part of this scholarship agreement?" said Raleigh attorney Bob Orr, who is representing the athletes.

Ramsey was kicked off the football team back in 2010 for getting improper help from a tutor, but he was allowed back on the team after his attorney convinced the NCAA he'd done nothing wrong. In July, he testified in a U.S. Senate hearing about college athletics.

"I've come to realize that there's a void in college athletics," Ramsey told senators. "The NCAA, as an institution, no longer protects the student-athlete. They're more concerned with signage and profit margins."

Orr said the students shouldn't be blamed if they didn't receive an education while at a university.

"They look up to the people in the institution, whether it's coaches, whether it's people in the athletic departments or professors or academic counselors," he said. "If they tell them to do something, they think they're supposed to do it."

Orr compared the suit to the long-running Leandro lawsuits challenging state funding to poor school districts in North Carolina and seeking a sound education for all public school students.

"(We want) the formation of an independent commission to review, audit, and assess and report on academic integrity," he said.


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  • Objective Scientist Jan 24, 2015

    Continuation of last comment: Do I have great empathy for that player and his family? You bet I do!!! However, I still do not believe such players should be ADMITTED as a student to a University at which such players have, for all practical purpose and with RARE exception, NO likelihood of academic success! Furthermore, consider this... virtually all of his fellow non-athlete college students (even many other athletes) would be incredibly intimadated if on a football field with Peppers... but Peppers is just as intimidated by them when he sits in the same classroom as them! Now... is the "answer" to this dilemma to admit the Peppers and McAdoos and have them experience their own "intimidation hell" while "creative ways" are used to keep them eligible to play... so they can have their shot at the NFL/NBA? I think not. It is way past time that our universities said "NO MORE" and the NFL/NBA should fund developmental or "minor" leagues in those sports as does MLB!

  • Objective Scientist Jan 24, 2015

    View quoted thread

    What you depict is "very real". I have known/know some athletic trainters (ATs) for major college football programs... even "Head Trainers" of D-I schools. They have described scenes like the following: An athlete with the background you describe for Peppers - coming from "poverty", etc., extremely poor academic preparation, etc. - yet with great potential for a pro career in the NFL/NBA... suffers a very significant injury that, if it does not end his playing days at the collegiate level, makes it very less likely or even certain that the "pro career" dream is now gone. This athlete is in the locker room after the game... his injury has been evaluated by ATs and physicians and the severity is ascertained. Along with the athlete in that locker room are parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. - and that entire family sees their "escape from poverty" going down that proverbial drain! The "grief" of that lost dream is palpatable! To Be Cont.

  • uBnice Jan 24, 2015

    View quoted thread

    As a follow-up, imagine yourself in the position of Peppers family. Peppers was from a very poor family. At 6'7", 270 lbs it had to be difficult to feed and cloth this physical freak of nature (freak in a positive sense). So I would imagine that given the choice between him not going to college and staying home to get a job or going to college where he would have a chance at a better life even though they knew their son did not have the intellect, then you choose college and hope for the best. And even if he is being used, it is still a better life than him living in poverty when he does not have to because many, many recruiters are selling him on a better life. There may even be help to get your roof done by somebody. Know what I mean?!

  • uBnice Jan 23, 2015

    View quoted thread

    I agree. Bad choices are being made on both ends.

  • Objective Scientist Jan 23, 2015

    Going to watch my grandson play high school basketball this evening... so signing off for now. Have a great evening to all.

  • uBnice Jan 23, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Whew, that was heavy. :-)

    I agree. Thank you.

  • solarcableguy Jan 23, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Exactly! Completely Agree!

  • Objective Scientist Jan 23, 2015

    Continuation: Do you believe that Peppers & McAdoo (and many others) were unaware of what was going on? That as unaccomplished academically as they were/are that they were 100% ignorant of UNC's efforts to keep them eligible to play for UNC? Neither of those guys are "dumb" in that sense! Do you believe Peppers has regrets, ANY, that he "cooperated" and took "paper classes" to remain eligible? He is one of the best athletes in any sport in the history of sports! Would he have been as successful if he had gone to a college where he could possibly have been more successful academically without "paper only classes"? Likely he would have... but we will never know that. All of our universities are "at fault" with this issue... but the players are far from "innocent babes in the woods". They and their families KNOW this goes on... and they go along with it... WILLINGLY... to have their shot at the NFL/NBA! Guargantuan money generated, YES! Guargantuan money spent on athletes, YES!

  • solarcableguy Jan 23, 2015

    View quoted thread

    I too am disgusted with UNC for committing the kind of fraud where they helped these athletes to commit fraud too by not even going to class or completing any work for their credits.

    They need to be punished for that; absolutely!

    However, it has nothing to do with, in my opinion, whether those athletes had very clear choices that they could make about their academic futures or ability to obtain their degrees.

    Plenty of athletes went to UNC, made better choices about their classes, and graduated with a solid education and a degree truly earned.

  • solarcableguy Jan 23, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Again; see my post below. It can be argued about who really committed the fraud. There are plenty of student/athletes like you and I that took advantage of the opportunity to get a degree and are thankful for it. However, I can tell you that I would not have signed up for a scholarship for a school if I could not keep myself academically eligible due to not having the capacity to handle the academics at the time of the offer. All athletes have a choice before signing their name on the dotted line