Roy Williams didn’t take kindly to talk of the death penalty for the embattled North Carolina athletic program.
The Tar Heels coach – fresh off a national title – fired back at the president of the University of Maryland who suggested earlier this week that UNC deserved the NCAA’s harshest punishment for the academic scandal that has dogged the athletic department since 2010.
Williams, who has won two national titles at North Carolina (three overall), went as far as to call Wallace Loh a "double idiot" for the comments the president made during a Q&A session with the University of Maryland’s faculty senate last week.
"There has been a lot of junk and people have questioned my integrity," Williams said in an interview Wednesday on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. "Even since we won (UNC beat Gonzaga 71-65 on April 3), people have come out and said some things without information. They’ve just gone by what somebody else has said.
"We have a president that says we should get the death penalty. A president of another university. I mean, to me, that’s just so silly. A guy told me one time, ‘You can get a little knowledge and it turns you into an idiot, but no knowledge you’re a double idiot.’ That’s about the way I look at the thing."
Here’s what Loh said to set off Williams.
"As president I sit over a number of dormant volcanoes," Loh said when quizzed by a faculty member about the corrupting influence of big-time athletics, per the The News & Observer in Raleigh. "One of them is an athletic scandal. It blows up, it blows up the university, its reputation, it blows up the president."
That’s when Loh decided to call out North Carolina specifically.
"For the things that happened in North Carolina, it’s abysmal. I would think that this would lead to the implementation of the death penalty by the NCAA, but I’m not in charge of that."
The only time the NCAA has banned a major program from competing – the so-called "death penalty" – came when Southern Methodist University had its 1987 football season canceled over cash payments to players.
The scandal at UNC involves student-athletes being steered into "GPA booster" classes that were designed to keep athletics academically eligible to compete.
The NCAA informed the Chapel Hill-based school in May 2015 of three major violations, but the probe has continued after the university submitted new information to the NCAA’s enforcement division.
Former Tar Heel star Rashad McCants, who helped North Carolina win Williams’ first national title at UNC in 2005, told ESPN in 2014 that he rarely went to class and that tutors wrote his term papers.
McCants said he never would have been eligible to compete if not for the bogus classes. He also said that Williams knew about the scheme.
"In no way did I know about or do anything close to what (McCants) says and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me," Williams said at the time.