Two ex-North Carolina athletes file lawsuit alleging academic fraud

(Reuters) - Two former University of North Carolina athletes filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the school and the NCAA, accusing them of academic fraud for failing to "provide a meaningful education." The lawsuit was filed in Durham, North Carolina, County Court on behalf of Devon Ramsay, who played football at the school, and former women's basketball player Rashanda McCants. "This lawsuit deals with the past, present and future of college academics," Michael Hausfeld, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Reuters. "It cuts beyond North Carolina to all sports at Division I institutions. Both genders." A report released in October by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein showed more than 3,000 students, nearly half of them athletes, received credit for fake classes at the Chapel Hill school over an 18-year period. "We have not seen the lawsuit, therefore we have no comment at this time," Rick White, the school's associate vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, said in a statement. The National Collegiate Athletic Association was not immediately available for comment. McCants is the sister of former UNC men's basketball player Rashad McCants, who has said he took sham classes at the school in order to stay academically eligible. "This case arises out of the NCAA and UNC’s abject failure to safeguard and provide a meaningful education to scholarship athletes who agreed to attend UNC - and take the field - in exchange for academically sound instruction," the lawsuit said. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, wants educational reforms and financial compensation for the athletes. (Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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