(SP) – Six tutors for North Carolina’s men’s basketball team were named to the Academic All-American team today for enabling the Tar Heels roster to stay academically eligible for the 2016-2017 season by taking exams and writing papers for them. The six UNC students, five females and one male, were honored by the coaches and players today with a brief ceremony in the team’s locker room. The students were then sent back to work on history papers that are due next week.

“We wouldn’t be here without those tutors,” said head coach Roy Williams of his team’s spot in the NCAA Tournament championship game. “They’re as important as anyone on this team even though they never set foot on the court. They put the ‘student’ in our student-athletes.”

Williams told the tutors that it’s their hard work off the court, from writing papers for multiple players in different voices to filling out take-home exams at all hours to getting good grades on projects but not too good so as to draw attention, that enables the Tar Heels players to focus specifically on basketball.

“I truly believe that’s what gives us an advantage over many other programs,” said Williams. “They’re wasting time and energy and brain space learning things that won’t help them on the basketball court. Not here. Not ever.”

Kara Myers, a UNC student who handles most of the mathematics-related work the for Tar Heels, says she is honored by the Academic All-American recognition.

“At most schools they hide this kind of thing, but since we pretty much got away with it before, they’re more open and honest about it here,” she said. “So I’m like a minor celebrity on campus. It probably goes the basketball team, then those of us who tutor them, then in a far distant third: the football team.”

 

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