UNC Basketball: Williams family makes donation to support senior athletes

Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda, want to provide senior student-athletes at UNC the opportunity to compete for their senior seasons.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA was left with no choice but to cancel all spring sports for the 2019-2020 school year.

Whether their season was cut short or flat-out canceled, a lot of questions and uncertainty surrounded college athletics. One of the major questions was in regards to the future eligibility status for these student-athletes, especially the senior class.

Some student-athletes have the opportunity to continue playing past the collegiate level, but the majority are using their eligibility as a last chance to compete in the sport they love to play.

Knowing that the pandemic has impacted so many student-athletes, the NCAA stepped in an effort to make up for the lost season.

The NCAA Division I Council approved an extra year of eligibility for all spring sport student-athletes whose season was lost due to the coronavirus. This is great to provide these athletes another chance to compete, but here comes the tricky part…

The NCAA decided to let it up to each school to decide whether to grant spring sport seniors less or equal financial aid for the 2020-2021 school year. There is no guarantee that those senior spring athletes will receive the same financial aid as they did this past school year.

For some schools, this may cause their seniors to move on as they look to start finding work in their future career paths. For other schools, senior athletes may be able to stick around for the year in an effort to get one last chance to play.

In regards to North Carolina, a very generous donation will help provide all senior student-athletes the opportunity to stick around Chapel Hill for another school year.

Men’s Basketball coach Roy Williams and his wife Wanda donated more than $600,000 to fund scholarships for all spring sport seniors. Simply, if the student wishes to return to campus, the Williams’ family donation will help cover their financial aid for the school year.

According to the school’s press release, the Williams family asked to keep their donation anonymous. However, they decided to allow North Carolina to release the information about the donation to the public as some of the school’s student-athletes started to return to campus.

Here is the statement from UNC’s Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham regarding the donation:

“Student-athletes have begun to come back to campus for voluntary and now team workouts, so it’s an appropriate time for us to announce that our spring sport seniors will also be able to return for another year thanks to Roy’s and Wanda’s generosity. Only a handful of people at the University knew what Roy and Wanda had done to support our students. He called me in March the day the NCAA canceled all spring championships. He didn’t want those students to miss that experience and wanted to fund those scholarships for next year. I still get chills when I think about his phone call and the impact it would have for dozens of our students.”

On social media, the UNC Athletics Department released the following video regarding the donation:

This donation is yet another testament to how much Williams cares about the student-athletes at the University of North Carolina. Although he doesn’t want any credit, he is the reason that many UNC senior student-athletes will be afforded one last opportunity to compete next school year.

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