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Rashad McCants took phony classes at UNC to beat Villanova in 2005

Grant Halverson

When Connecticut went on to win the National Championship two months ago, the theme of "Villanova losing to the eventual National Champions in the Tournament" raised its head again.

During the NCAA Tournament in the Jay Wright era, the Villanova Wildcats have lost to the eventual National Champion in 2014, 2009 (North Carolina Tar Heels), 2008 (Kansas Jayhawks), 2006 (Florida Gators), and 2005 (UNC).

As the 2005 Villanova squad that started Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Will Sheridan, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Nardi returned to national prominence that UNC game was a stinger for many Villanova fans due to what was arguably "the worst call in NCAA history"; a phantom traveling call on Allan Ray with 9 seconds to go.

Now a key player from that '05 Tar Heels team is in the news, and not for a positive reason.

Rashad McCants was a junior guard on that  2005 UNC Team. He was the squad's second-leading scorer and led the team with 17 points in UNC's dubious 67-66 victory over Villanova in the Regional Semifinal. He told ESPN's Outside the Lines that he took took phony classes in order to remain eligible in the Spring of 2005.

And current Head Coach Roy Williams knew.

McCants said he was headed toward ineligibility during the championship season because he had failed algebra and psychology, which accounted for half of his credits, in the fall of 2004. He had two A's in AFAM classes in addition to the F's. He said coach Roy Williams informed him of his academic troubles during a meeting ahead of the spring semester.

"There was a slight panic on my part ... [he] said, you know, we're going to be able to figure out how to make it happen, but you need to buckle down on your academics."

He said Williams told him "we're going to be able to change a class from, you know, your summer session class and swap it out with the class that you failed, just so the GPA could reflect that you are in good standing."

12:40p ET Update: Roy Williams disagrees:

"I strongly disagree with what Rashad has said. In no way did I know about or do anything close to what he says, and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me.  I have spent 63 years on this Earth trying to do things the right way, and the picture he portrays is not fair to the university or me."

Watch the video. Read the article. Think of what could have been if UNC didn't have a bunch of cheating cheaters and the refs weren't blind at the Carrier Dome.