Mary Willingham, the UNC tutor who blew the whistle on academic problems within the athletic department, researched the reading aptitude of 183 Tar Heel football and basketball players from 2004 to 2012. She found that 60 percent read between 4th and 8th grade levels, and eight to 10 percent read below a 3rd grade level. One basketball player could not read or write. Willingham claims she had to teach him to sound out polysyllabic words.
UNC and Roy Williams disputed the report’s findings. Willingham, who has not released the data publicly to protect student identities, has offered to show Roy Williams the information in private.
“I stand by what I said, and if he wants to meet with me and go through his players, I’d be happy to share that,” said Willingham, who worked in the tutoring program for student athletes from 2003 to 2010. “I have his scores and … I’m the one who taught him.
One would think a fine academic institution like the University of North Carolina would be especially interested, considering recent academic scandals within the athletic department nearly cost the school its SACS accreditation. No bagels were topped with egregious condiments, so the NCAA was totally cool with it.
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