Former women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants and former football player Devon Ramsay sued UNC and the NCAA for not providing them with the adequate education they were promised.
The motion filed Monday argues the lawsuit is invalid because a three-year statute of limitations has expired. According to the suit, McCants attended UNC from 2005-09 and Ramsay was a student from 2007-12.
“UNC officials said they didn’t know anything about these fraudulent classes and they’re basing the statute of limitations argument on a premise that these 19, 20-year old college athletes should have known, even though everybody in the University hierarchy said they didn’t know,” said Robert Orr, UNC law professor and a lawyer for McCants and Ramsay.
University spokeswoman Helen Buchanan said it is against UNC policy to comment on pending litigation.
Orr said he anticipated the motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs have until late April to file a response, and both sides will argue the motions in federal court — where the NCAA requested to move the case in February — in late May or early June, he said.
“It’s a very technical argument, or several arguments, by both UNC and the NCAA that essentially said, ‘Isn’t it terrible, but we have no legal responsibility,’” Orr said.
The University is represented in the case and several other legal matters by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a New York-based law firm, which was retained in December and has accumulated a bill of more than half a million dollars so far.
McCants’ and Ramsay’s case was filed on behalf of everyone who attended UNC on an athletic scholarship and enrolled in certain classes in the African and African-American Studies department from 1989 to 2011.
Thirteen pages of the suit list the classes in question.
The former players’ argument is the NCAA neglected the duty it “voluntarily assumed ... to protect the education and educational opportunities of student-athletes” at member institutions.
They also argue that UNC breached its implied contract with scholarship athletes. The case defines the implied contract as participation in NCAA-sanctioned athletics in exchange for “a UNC education that included academically sound classes with legitimate educational instruction.”
Orr said he found the timing of the situation ironic.
“March Madness and the Final Four are generating about $900 million this spring for the NCAA and its member institutions and all of those young men appearing in Indianapolis to play next week will be wearing the logos of the NCAA on them and what they are getting from this is not a quality college education.”