Former basketball star Rashad McCants made headlines in June when he said he rarely had to attend class while at UNC. On Thursday, his younger sister, former women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants, and former football player Devon Ramsay filed a class-action lawsuit against the University and the NCAA.
The 100-page lawsuit, which says UNC breached the athletes’ contracts by not providing them with an adequate education, was filed by Hausfeld LLP — the same firm that handled former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon’s case against the NCAA.
"(Rashanda McCants and Ramsay) are looking to not only represent themselves but all other UNC students who took the fradulent classes, and they are looking for compensation for the fact they were directed into sham courses,” said Michael D. Hausfeld, the lawyer who filed the suit on the athletes’ behalf.
In addition to compensation for damages, the plaintiffs are asking the court to establish an independent committee to review academics at NCAA schools and to ensure educational opportunities are provided to all students equally.
According to the UNC’s now-public response to questions from its accrediting agency, the University found no evidence that academic fraud extended beyond the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
Neither Ramsay nor Rashanda McCants majored in African and Afro-American studies — the department whose nearly two-decade-long academic fraud was detailed in the Wainstein report.
Rick White, associate vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, said the University had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on the matter.
Hausfeld said the NCAA, as much as UNC, should be held accountable for the education its member schools provide to athletes.
“The NCAA has the responsibility for the meaningful education of these athletes, and the NCAA, we claim, had a duty to know or should have known what was going on (at UNC) and was negligent in terminating the fraud earlier,” said Hausfeld in an interview.
In November, former football player Michael McAdoo filed a class-action lawsuit against UNC for providing him with an inadequate education.
In 2010 — Ramsay’s junior season at UNC — the fullback and McAdoo were ruled ineligible by the NCAA for academic misconduct. Ramsay’s suspension was eventually overturned.
Hausfeld said Rashanda McCants’ and Ramsay’s suit is in “a totally different class” because McAdoo’s is limited to football players.
“The (Rashanda) McCants suit and Ramsay’s suit includes women, includes anyone from any sport that took any one of those classes,” he said. “It also includes the NCAA and it also speaks on behalf of all athletes in all Division I schools across the board for ensuring the integrity of the classes they take going forward.”