Many UNC-AAS questions remain, including: Are Roy Williams and Butch Davis being unfairly targeted?

The scope of the UNC academic scandal continues to widen as national outlets are finally catching onto the story. Many of these stories are linked in this entry from yesterday. If you missed it, please take a moment to catch up on the recent developments concerning the UNC faculty’s request for an independent investigation given its collective (and reasonable, we might add) concern that the school has not been completely forthcoming or even diligent in its own investigation and reporting of the scope of potential academic misconduct.

As is the case with many North Carolinians, many of us Wolfpackers and SFN contributors are married to UNC alumnae. (Perhaps it’s just part of their narcissism that makes them forget we steal their women.) Just yesterday, the latest edition of the UNC alumni association magazine, The Carolina Review, was sent to some of our homes. (Thanks!)

In it is a surprisingly somewhat fair assessment of the most recent developments in Chapel Hill surrounding UNC’s African and Afro-American Studies curriculum (AAS) and that department’s connection to academic fraud involving UNC athletes. The piece mostly recaps the press releases. It by no means blazes any trails. That’s certainly understandable since this is, well, the official UNC alumni association publication.

There is, however, a most interesting tidbit of information provided therein that SFN has yet to see elsewhere despite what has become an onslaught of media coverage in recent days and weeks. The latest hit coming from NBC.

Specifically, the Carolina Alumni Review points out that Dr. Nyang’oro, the professor (and department head) at the center of the AAS athletic scandal, was employed by the University as a faculty member in 1988. Nyang’oro became the chair of the curriculum at issue in 1992. The Carolina Alumni Review also points out that Nyang’oro was the *first* and *only* department head.

As a matter of deduction, that means that African American Studies as a curriculum was created in 1992 when Nyang’oro was designated the first and only chair.

In 1992-1993, the University of North Carolina basketball team won the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship in New Orleans finishing the year with an impressive 34-4 record.

UNC’s roster for the 1992-1993 team can be viewed here. However, below is a clip from that link for your convenience:

Scott Cherry Sr 6-4 G
George Lynch Sr 6-7 F *
Henrik Rodl Sr 6-7 F/G
Travis Stephenson Sr 6-6 F
Matt Wenstrom Sr 7-1 C
Eric Montross Jr 7-0 C *
Derrick Phelps Jr 6-4 G *
Brian Reese Jr 6-6 F *
Kevin Salvadori Jr 7-0 F
Pat Sullivan Jr 6-8 F
Pearce Landry So 6-5 G
Donald Williams So 6-3 G *
Dante Calabria Fr 6-4 G
Larry Davis Fr 6-1 G
Ed Geth Fr 6-9 F

As you will see, the starting line up for the 1993 National Champion Tar Heels consisted of George Lynch, Brian Reese, Donald Williams, Derrick Phelps, and Eric Montross.

Before we move forward, a disclaimer: In the not-so-distant past, SFN was able to peruse old UNC Basketball Media Guides. For some reason we are having trouble relocating those online. But at that point, we were able to determine from UNC’s own publications the curriculum/majors of many of the former UNC basketball players.

The curriculum majors/minors for that group based on our best collected information and belief are as follows:

Lynch (Sr): African American Studies
Reese (Jr): Communications (minor in African American Studies)
D. Williams (So): African American Studies
Phelps (Jr): African American Studies
Montross (Jr): Communications

It seems worth pointing out that in the first year a curriculum for African American Studies existed at UNC (1992) 4 of 5 members of the starting lineup of the National Championship Basketball team immediately majored/minored in the brand new curriculum with Dr. Nyang’oro at the helm. In just one year, an almost entire team happened to migrate to one particular, and brand new, curriculum?


Perhaps even more amazing is that some of these players were juniors and seniors when the curriculum was created!

There are so many side stories to this “coincidence.”

1) Roy Williams was in Kansas for the 1992/1993 season and for a decade thereafter.
2) Donald Williams was an NC State commitment only to finally sign with Dean Smith and the Tar Heels.
3) Not long thereafter Jerry Stackhouse, a lifelong Wolfpack fan, also signed with UNC.
4) Stackhouse, brace yourself, also purportedly majored in African American Studies.

So many questions remain in light of The Big Lead and other national outlets starting to put pressure on the basketball program’s connection to AAS. If you haven’t read the story by the Big Lead linked above, you should immediately. It raises some great points and great questions, but does it even encompass the entire picture given the information above?

Just starting from 2003-04 the Big Lead provides this tidbit and data:

So in 2009, a year before the scandal went public, the academic adviser to the basketball team – a team which had a history of players who majored in African and Afro-American Studies – left UNC, as did a longtime administrator in that department. Since the departures of Walden and Crowder, records obtained by the News & Observer (click here for the UNC academic info PDF) show a dramatic drop in athletes majoring in African and Afro-American Studies. We specifically looked at the basketball team’s numbers in that major from when Roy Williams took over in 2003-2004, and here are the numbers we found (African & Afro-American majors/players who had chosen a major):

2003-04 AA 5/13
2004-05 AA 7/13 < —- Won NCAA title.
2005-06 AA 3/11
2006-07 AA 3/15
2007-08 AA 2/12
2008-09 AA 1/16 2009-10 AA 0/10
2010-11 AA 0/8
2011-12 AA 0/9

There is little doubt to the objective observer that many questions remain unanswered. The scope of the investigation perhaps cannot be broad enough to truly get to the bottom of the questions that linger surrounding the UNC athletic department.

To leave you with just a few to chew on:

– Was AAS created at UNC specifically for basketball players?

– Was UNC tipped off that people were starting to make that connection?

– How many recruits did UNC lure away from other schools with promises of easy degrees in the newly created AAS curriculum after its creation under Nyang’oro in 1992?

– Is it fair to just point a finger at Roy Williams or does academic fraud in the athletic department and University as a whole long predate his arrival?

– Did Butch Davis take the fall for a system that existed long before he, too, arrived in Chapel Hill?

– If it worked so long for basketball, why not football? (There’s a cliche about a secret and three people… it’s anecdotal, but it’s likely applicable to a secret and 5 people versus a secret and 75 people.)

– Can the true breadth of the competitive advantage be even comprehended when a coach enters a recruit’s home and speaks of ridiculously over-inflated graduation rates to a superstar’s parents eagerly wanting to hear that “Junior” will earn a degree before he suffers a blown knee?

– Now that there is an immediate trend away from AAS by UNC athletes, or at least there was in anticipation of the NCAA investigation as pointed out above, is communications the degree of choice?

– Prior to the creation of AAS, was communications the degree of choice for UNC athletes? If so, why then and why a return to that now?

The questions linger, and for now no one at UNC seems willing to open up and address them.

The 216 decision lingers, and there seems to be no slowing down to this story anytime soon.

Stay tuned, Wolfpack fans. All those years of suffering through intolerable rhetoric from holier-than-though UNC fans and friends seem poised to be repaid… and some.

Also, congratulations to one of our most favorite Tar Heels, Marvin Austin, for graduating from UNC in 2012! (Assuming of course the alumni magazine’s use of a “(’12)” behind his name in the above-referenced article does indeed indicate he is a graduate. Other former players mentioned therein had no such qualifier.) Congrats, Marvin, and best of luck with the NY Giants!

Are we the only ones out there pulling for this kid who obviously has had to pick himself up from under the bus countless times? You go, Anchorman. Best wishes from Wolfpack Nation! Learn more on Marvin’s NFL quest here at

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43 Responses to Many UNC-AAS questions remain, including: Are Roy Williams and Butch Davis being unfairly targeted?

  1. runwiththepack 07/27/2012 at 1:25 PM #

    It has been Christmas non-stop (almost) for 2 years now! Even odds for a 3rd year of this?

    This is a very good article to point out that this l-o-o-o-n-g predates Roy and Butch. Nice job – very nice.

    “…and then some”. + But, they haven’t really been hammered yet in proportion to their transgressions. We’ll see. I’m still cynical after seeing them get away with this dung for so long, but i realize that yesterday was a big day.

    Thanks, Marv, you big teddy bear! You’re one of my top 5 heels.

    The heels could not have played their cards worse, it looks like up to this point. I still won’t believe it until i see banners come down. Finally, the Joepa “thing” is getting old, so this should be able to capture more eyes.

  2. Texpack 07/27/2012 at 1:27 PM #

    Maybe Marvin’s class should properly be listed as (’12*)

  3. tjfoose1 07/27/2012 at 1:27 PM #

    Marvin Austin. The bestest tar heel ever!

  4. tjfoose1 07/27/2012 at 1:30 PM #

    From the NBC Article:

    “…the amount of smoke growing around Roy Williams’ program makes it more and more difficult to believe that there isn’t fire in there somewhere.”

    Uh oh… has anyone told Smokey over at 99.9?

  5. StateMan 07/27/2012 at 1:32 PM #

    My older bro went to unc in 1992 so i followed the heels closely. I remember several of their athletes majoring in AAS (tv puts it on the screen as they are shooting FTs). I always thought that was a BS degree but i had no idea….wow, makes me laugh that there is a new article about them everyday.

  6. StateMan 07/27/2012 at 1:35 PM #

    On a side note, my bro quit unc because it was too liberal for him. It was too much of a culture shock for a kid from duplin county.

  7. blpack 07/27/2012 at 1:37 PM #

    * Wow, State will soon be tied with the holes in NCAA titles at 2. Can’t wait to pass them!

    Culture of corruption at UNC-cheat. Plain and simple.

  8. StateMan 07/27/2012 at 1:40 PM #

    He did say that he was popular with the girls though, so there was a good side to it. haha

  9. tjfoose1 07/27/2012 at 1:41 PM #

    Maybe unx should hire Calipari to come in and clean up their program.

  10. GAWolf 07/27/2012 at 1:41 PM #

    BLPACK: Honestly, if that turns out to be true… that will crush the UNC faithful. Crush. Them.

  11. ncsu1987 07/27/2012 at 2:02 PM #

    Let me see if I understand these stats: the dept was created in 1992, and within one year, 80% of the starters on the men’s basketball team was associated academically with the dept, including a senior and two juniors? Can anybody look at that stat and honestly say it’s a coincidence?

  12. rtpack24 07/27/2012 at 2:03 PM #

    Great work!

  13. bill.onthebeach 07/27/2012 at 2:08 PM #

    yep… I married a “Carolina” girl … too !!

  14. mwcric 07/27/2012 at 2:14 PM #

    Revenue sport athletes majoring in communications is hardly a trend at UNC only. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that 20% – at least – of all NCAA football and men’s basketball players nationwide in any given school year are communications majors. I suspect much of that may be due to the fact that a lot of these guys hope to go pro, and then hope to use their careers as leverage to getting into a broadcast booth post-playing days. The comm degree just makes it a little more “official.”

    And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: While the level of schadenfreude these UNC scandals are delivering to me on a daily basis is immeasureable, it also scares the bejezus out of me because the hotter it gets, the more you KNOW UNCheat affiliates are digging into NCSU’s and ECU’s program like Indiana Jones into the Egyptian desert, desparate for ANY sliver of slime. Just hope our noses are squeaky clean.

  15. LRM 07/27/2012 at 2:30 PM #

    ^There’s a huge difference between having a lot of athletes in a single major and creating a fraudulent department and then pushing athletes towards it.

  16. Hungwolf 07/27/2012 at 3:11 PM #

    Butch and Roy being treated unfair? Hmmmm…maybe so cause they only carrying on what Dean Smith and John Swofford started. I mean if the facts really point to this being started under Swofford as AD of UNC. Maybe that is why the NCAA doesn’t want to touch it. What do you do when a major BSC conference Commish has his hands dirty?

  17. modobrew 07/27/2012 at 3:33 PM #


    This ( was the link I used back in a thread “More Rogue at UNC-Rogue” that went to all the previous media guides. It looks like UNC-Cheat took that site down. Must have some damning information within for them to take it down. I just visited it back on June 23. Things that make you go hmmmm. Maybe some of you hackers out there can use this link to find others ( Thats the 2009-2010 media guide in pdf form. This is the 2010-2011 media guide (

    Hopefully someone can find some other stuff.

  18. TOBtime 07/27/2012 at 3:37 PM #

    mwcric, 2 of our starting 4 D-line took and passed organic chemistry. I just took and passed the 2nd semester. It was by FAR the hardest academic course in my life. I believe Manny Lawson is an engineer. I’ll put our guys up against unx anytime.
    Do we ever have guys who can’t cut it? Sure. See the list of transfers during the tenure of TOB.

    Totally agree with LRM. I used to talk with Terry Jordan when he was coming to Biltmore for Parks & Rec classes. Was the degree the toughest on campus? No but he did the work FOR the degree and he was for sure physically in his classes! You don’t have to be squeaky clean but you can’t create a pipeline for idiots to make it through a supposedly focused-on-academics university.

  19. PackMan97 07/27/2012 at 3:55 PM #

    “Revenue sport athletes majoring in communications is hardly a trend at UNC only. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that 20% – at least – of all NCAA football and men’s basketball players nationwide in any given school year are communications majors.”

    As usual, NC State players don’t really cluster (at least in FB). The News and Record did a review of athletes with majors listed.

    49 players for NC State with 17 different majors represented. Sports Management (10) was #1 with 20% of players, followed by Business Admin (6), Communications (5) and Parks, Rec and Tourism Management (5).

    The amount of clustering at Carolina and Wake Forest is really quite shocking. 60% of players at Wake in Communications. 63% of players at Carolina in Communications or Exercise Science.

    The same is true for Basketball which is listed as well. It actually makes me quite proud of NC State and I really do hope our athletes are getting a good quality education in a major in which they are interested in and would like to have a career in after they are done playing.

    EDIT: THIS ARTICLE ALONE probably deserves it’s own blog post and royal treatment by the SFN staff.

  20. MP 07/27/2012 at 4:21 PM #

    A comment below the Deadspin article:

    “Roy Williams is already saying that this article is worse than Mein Kampf.”

  21. Pack78 07/27/2012 at 4:29 PM #

    SF-Great work on the ’93 u*nx National Champion* BB team-looking forward to the time in the not-to-distant (hopefully) future when this kind of info is part of the asterisk-studded history of the public ivy…

  22. OldWuf 07/27/2012 at 4:34 PM #

    “Maybe unx should hire Calipari to come in and clean up their tjfoose1″ I just snorted! Hilarious

  23. NCSU88 07/27/2012 at 4:35 PM #

    From the Big Lead Sports article

    “The academic fraud led the NCAA to slap the football team with a bowl ban and scholarship reductions, and it is one of the primary reasons coach Butch Davis was fired.”

    “The school has redacted many details in the few documents they have made public (the News & Observer has been all over it), and many others are tied up in court.”

    Not sure theses are accurate statements. BM*D hammering over the Tutor, benefits etc was before the big fraud blow up. News and Observer really hasn’t “been all over it” in my opinion. Only in the last 6 months or so.

    Brilliant post here, though by Statefans. The Carolina Review is packed with a lot of info and links to their reporting of the situation. Start here and then go to the bottom for more stories.

  24. BureauOfMines 07/27/2012 at 5:19 PM #

    I hope UNC continues to circle the wagons. This is great stuff. It just keeps on coming.

  25. mwcric 07/27/2012 at 5:24 PM #

    Whoa whoa whoa! Sorry, let me be clear: I was in NO WAY defending anything happening at UNC OR suggesting anything was wrong at NCSU! I apologize for not being clearer. I was saying I don’t think lots of athletes majoring in communications is that unusual at any university. I agree the AfAm studies at UNCheat was totally bogus and illegitimate in every way. Just saying the players switching to comm doesn’t necessarily mean that comm is also bogus. Typically communication studies are among the largest majors at most schools that offer it. I was just offering my insight as to why I thought players – in general, not just at UNC – pursued it.

    And I wasn’t suggesting at all any improprieties whatsoever at NC State; just that with all the heat UNC is facing now, and finally from a national standpoint at that, that the rest of the state schools better be extra diligent in keeping their noses clean because I think we’ve seen the folks in Chapel Hill are quite willing to do anything except the right thing to sweep all this under the rug. Face it, history has demonstrated that NCSU figuratively rolling through a stop sign brings inherently more wrath than UNC getting loaded and running over the stop sign at 95 miles an hour.

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