This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
  • williammjohnston Jan 20, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Very well stated!

  • williammjohnston Jan 20, 2014

    Most of you miss the point. The individual obviously did not apply himself. Without his effort to learn to read! it is impossible to make them apply themselves! It is also a failure on the parents part to encourage them to work on academics as well as athletic ability. If these athletes did not read at 5th to 8th grade levels they should not have been promoted = social promotion! But if they are poor and minorities, the government would not allow them to be held back and they know that! The real problem lies with the student first and with the subsequent "authorities" thereafter, plus the alumni insisting on a winning team however it has to be done!

  • Alex25 Jan 16, 2014

    Wait till someone connects the dots with:


    oooooops. And they will.

  • Objective Scientist Jan 16, 2014

    "It is the nature of the animal. You want a good team, sometimes you have to get people that are not full time academics. This lady is sour grapes, she is jealous of the money that some of them make when they leave school." - post by lazyrebel Jan 16, 12:53 p.m.

    How do you figure that? She has been in the process of HELPING players to be "PAID" for the use of their image, name, likeness, etc. That hardly seems characteristic of someone jealous of the money some athletes will make after leaving school?

  • Objective Scientist Jan 16, 2014

    So much in this article and the comments to address... so little time and space. Some thoughts: Some say that reading at the 8th grade, or whatever, level is not the fault of the universities but that of the K-12 schools. I agree, but also attribute some "blame" to parents or lack thereof. However it is the fault of the universities to admit students reading at an 8th grade level or below. "In theory" - that should not happen because is the "college work" is at the appropriate level of rigor those students have no chance of succeeding - athlete or not. As a 3-time alumnus of UNC I am very disappointed, even disgusted, in the way "my university" has handled all of this "MESS". There could be 'issues' in Willingham's research regard her data source, measurement error, procedures/protocol, methods of analysis, etc., etc., but the University seems hell-bent on discrediting her research and the information it brings to the table - right out of the gate! At least TAKE A LOOK AT IT!!!

  • mamatried762 Jan 16, 2014

    Folt says the data doesn't match up. That may be due to her using 2012-2013 data, while Willingham's data was from previous years. I think UNC needs to just own up to what has happened, and continue to work on fixing it.

  • lazyrebel Jan 16, 2014

    It is the nature of the animal. You want a good team, sometimes you have to get people that are not full time academics. This lady is sour grapes, she is jealous of the money that some of them make when they leave school.

  • pdbullard Jan 16, 2014

    I think the new UNC chancellor just called Willingham a liar

    "but we have been unable to reconcile these claims with either our own facts or with those data currently being cited as the source for the claims. Moreover, the data presented in the media does not match up with those data gathered by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. For example, only two of the 321 student-athletes admitted in 2012 and 2013 fell below the SAT and ACT levels that were cited in a recent CNN report as the threshold for reading levels for first-year students. And those two students are in good academic standing. Nevertheless, we are investigating all the claims being made and, if they are found to have merit, I will take all appropriate actions. We also will do our best to correct assertions we believe are not based in fact."

  • StunGunn Jan 16, 2014

    There are many flaws in the current system: elementary, middle and high schools that promote and graduate students that are deficient in basic core subjects, Universities that admit some of these "student" athletes because they are proficient in the revenue sports; overlooking the fact they don't have the ability to take and pass the classes necessary to graduate, and lastly, the NFL and NBA rules that don't have a farm system like baseball.

    The current system is broken, but with the money generated by football and basketball, neither the Universities nor the NBA and NFL, and even the NCAA have the impetus to enforce rules that will put a stop to the cash cow that college sports have become.

  • Beeblebrox Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    And what finally happened at NC State? The faculty revolted, fired the coach, the athletic director, and the chancellor, and instituted more rigorous academic requirements than any school in the ACC. All for selling complementary tickets and shoes (there was no academic scandal at NCSU in the 80's, despite the propaganda from the UNC "faithful"). Contrast that reaction to the one at UNC, where the school has stonewalled for 3 years.

  • Beeblebrox Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Funny, Lorenzo Brown spent a year in prep school becasuse he was not academically qualified to play at State. So your logic is flawed.

  • 426X3 Jan 16, 2014

    She has got some guts. But her research findings should be no big surprise to anyone.

  • justaconservativeguy Jan 16, 2014

    If they are reading at a 4th-8th grade level, then that isn't UNC's fault, it's the teachers and principals to promoted these students back in middle school.

    Actually they're all at fault... The elementary, middle, and high schools that promoted them; as well as the University that accepted them...

    PArt of the problem is the system. A kid can not be held back or flunked but so many times in elem. school and middle school. Once that occurs it does not matter what their grades are or what their education level is. At that point they will be socially promoted. THey just get pushed thorough the system. Also, administrators do not want to flunk to many because it will make the retention rate for the school increase which may bring unwanted negative attention and accusations of the school and staff not doing their job. This could lead to lawsuits of all kinds. It is all part of our PC education system. No won fails.

  • 82ndAAHeel Jan 16, 2014

    I will qualify my response first with stating as an alumnus, the reports are hard to read. If what she says is true, it is disappointing that no one took her data and tried to improve the situation. Now back to reality. Some of the best high school football athletes I have played with, against and coached, never made it to college because they never got out of high school. It doesn't matter if you are a tarheel fan, state, duke, va tech, La-Monroe, Idaho etc......Fan bases all want one thing. Winning. Sad but true. Nothing will change until the entire system changes. Do you really think the NCAA will give up $ from advertisers, ESPN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC. No one wants to watch subpar athletic contests. So ultimately, the situation has been created from each person in the mirror. Its a flawed system out of our own desires for entertainment, pure and simple.

  • ccsmith1902 Jan 16, 2014

    Williams' refusal to meet with Willingham was poor behavior.

    View quoted thread

    Your comment is without merit. Willingham can prove that these students are not prepared to do college-level work.

  • Vincent Vega Jan 16, 2014

    QC, There are no great examples of Affirmative Action. Funny you call her a racist (that card is dead) and praise AA, which by definition is racist. up is down, black is white.

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yes. And UNC are also the ones that stood to gain by keeping these star athletes in school and eligible. High schools have no incentive to cheat financially, the only incentive they have is to inflate their graduation numbers by passing more students, but they don't do it based on which students are the best athletes like UNC does...

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Unfortunately, this issue is common in colleges and universities. Look at any academic department and you will see, the ones with the highest status are the ones that generate the most revenue...and not necessarily the ones that are the best at educating students...

  • phwpoe Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You are absolutely correct.

  • QC Jan 16, 2014

    Willingham is a publicity hound and bitter staff member who harbors the classic traits of a closeted racist/classist. Athletic scholarships are one of the last great examples of Affirmative Action in America, and resentful closeted racists are trying to crush them. She and her ilk are trying to deny opportunities to young people who never had the opportunities that she did as a child. For every troubled college athlete there are many others who are climbing the social ladder and making our community a better place for all. This woman is one of many who are trying to deny them the opportunity, in the name of celebrity or revenge for their own personal demons. Pathetic.

  • zwamus Jan 16, 2014

    As a father with two daughters who unsuccesfully attempted to get some financial help it is clear what is happening. With a 4.0 average throughout their high school career there was no financial help for academic only students but if they had a D average and could dribble a ball their was full ride assistance money waving from most colleges in NC. Of course UNC knew what was going on and blessed it and paid the coaches more than the salary of the President of the United States. There is nothing more important than the glory of sports achievements which reflects better than any academics status to NC Colleges. The trophy case is a display of phallic symbols for the coaches, alumni and administration. Glory to the basketball and football programs who are run by Gods among mortals and screw the players who think they are there also to get an education if they don't make it in professional sports. They are then left to hang out and try and get a meaningful job with zero usable education.

  • Alex25 Jan 16, 2014

    Who / which UNC faculty, coach, player will see jail time for defrauding the taxpayers of NC..........??

  • Alex25 Jan 16, 2014

    Take responsibility, all that passed these students should be embarrassed to call themselves an educator.
    But THE most embarrassed has to be UNC-CH. You brought in dunces, kept them eligible with the fraud & fakery, won some games - THEN you brag about graduating them. Total Scam. // www.carolina

  • ctrevino17 Jan 16, 2014

    First, paying college athletes has nothing to do with what happened at UNC; different subject.

    It’s a break down of the entire educational system. These UNC athletes (and others) made it out of high school unprepared because the system let them.

    Their parents failed them, their HS coaches failed them, their HS teachers failed them, the administrators at the high schools failed them and the admissions staff at UNC failed to do their job.

    All allow these athletes to be passed from grade to grade and now it’s someone else fault. I think not, it’s the student athletes fault along with their supporting cast.

    Take responsibility, all that passed these students should be embarrassed to call themselves an educator.

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    If they are reading at a 4th-8th grade level, then that isn't UNC's fault, it's the teachers and principals to promoted these students back in middle school.Actually they're all at fault... The elementary, middle, and high schools that promoted them; as well as the University that accepted them...

  • foodstamptrader Jan 16, 2014

    "At UNC, we have also sadly admitted to tolerating a system of no-show classes (which preserved eligibility) that existed in our African and Afro-American Studies Department for more than two decades – a system that athletes, advisers, coaches and administrators all knew about, but for which only two people have been blamed," Willingham said.

    Yet this fraudulent department still exists and still soaks up taxpayer money. Why? Because it would be racially insensitive to assure they meet any type of normal academic rigor requirements.

    The PC state university system allows the African Studies department continue to offer bogus courses in meaningless disciplines. What a joke...

  • tbg0519 Jan 16, 2014

    It's interesting that she says it has been going on for decades. Meaning this goes back to the 90s, which would be during the Dean Smith and John Swofford era. Could this be why the ACC refuses to delve deeper? FYI I was at UNC then as well (class of 94), and did know some athletes. Some were actually quite intelligent, but as Ms Willingham noted, there were many who were not prepared to perform academically. It was something that was accepted back then. I have seen the comments about the SAT scores. There have been documented cases of people taking the tests for others, so the best way to evaluate the athletes coming in is face to face, not some test that may or may not have been taken by them.

  • pappy1 Jan 16, 2014

    Come on, man. Don't hate on a program that rolls out doctors, nuclear engineers and theoretical physicists. UNC is the bedrock of the American education system. It features challenging courses like "being a person of color in racist America" and "Sports Theory." C'mon man.

  • dmccall Jan 16, 2014

    If they are reading at a 4th-8th grade level, then that isn't UNC's fault, it's the teachers and principals to promoted these students back in middle school. Perhaps we should end athletic scholarships, since the product has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the university. It is there to educate the populous, not to entertain it.

  • Riddickfield Jan 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yes, and this is the problem at unc. At other schools, these kids become academically ineligible, but at unc they learn nothing because of the fake classes and get a degree. The tired old excuse, "Everybody is doing it" is simply incorrect and certainly does not make it right.

  • Alex25 Jan 16, 2014

    The Carolina Way::

    Recruit poor student-athletes, graduate them at an extraordinarily high rate with no classes, fake classes, grade changes, then use the numbers to tell/sell future recruits and parents.

    A scam now fully exposed...

  • cwmllc1952 Jan 16, 2014

    I ate lunch with 2 UNC Grads from the 80,s. One sales insurance and the other manages other peoples rental property. Of the minority that have the gift to get in Universities they mostly want to hold gifted athletes back because they have the opportunity make so much money after college. We should help these kids to become productive citizens. Jealousy is a terrible thing. Universities should have Sports Programs with classes teaching how to be a responsible adult for the less intelligent but richer few.

  • ycbs Jan 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Now, if all the other major university athletic programs' academic advisers will step up and do the same thing she's doing. Anyone who doesn't think almost every major collegiate sports program has its own diploma mill is seriously naive. Ever hear most NCSU athletes talk during interviews?

  • jankenpie Jan 15, 2014

    Knew a 'tight end' and a punter that were very smart and did not expect a life in football outside college even though they were 'stars' but the others....sheesh!

  • Sally1023 Jan 15, 2014

    So there are some football and basketball players at UNC who read on a 5th to 8th grade reading level. I worked at Durham Tech. in the late 1970's and was paid to tutor Duke football players that read at that same level. I'm am VERY sure Duke still has the same situation now, but probably pay their own tutors. So what should happen? Have spelling bees instead of football games. This story could be written about most universities with strong athletics programs, public and private. You complain or defend, this is life, get use to it! At least, or I certainly hope, our State's schools don't have good looking college coeds to do most anything to get athletes go to UT Austin.

  • sunshine1040 Jan 15, 2014

    Unprepared but still getting diplomas and pushed unto the next level. Parents can still tell their children sorry no sports until you grades come up but many of thyem are just looking at the big dollars their kid might earn if they do not get injured. Sorry but was a time when even the school said c+ or above to stay on team and some teachers actually meant it.

  • 4tarheels Jan 15, 2014

    That's big time college sports. "That's how the sausage is made." yawn, in the end, nothing will change, unless the money dries up.

  • Alex25 Jan 15, 2014

    Unprepared but still graduating at extraordinarily high rates -- AND competing on the field and on the court ... and the diamond. Ugh.

  • tsquaring Jan 15, 2014

    "Adviser: UNC football, basketball players 'woefully unprepared'"

    Unprepared for college before they get there? Not the fault of the college. And as a NCSU fan, I'm not here to defend UNC. The students should be prepared by the previous school and parents. Then UNC wouldn't have to invent classes that aren't attended. I still think they're cheaters though. ;-)

  • jurydoc Jan 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's irrelevant that you "seriously doubt this." The point is in the absence of the comparative data, the rest is speculation.

  • DowntownGirl Jan 15, 2014

    Sadly enough, no one is asking the real question...How did these kids get through elementary, middle and high schools? Don't think anyone is shocked that athletes don't have to meet the same standards as other ANY school...regardless of so many of your claims. And, I, for one don't really care. I do care that our schools are not preparing all children for life. That's the real story.

  • LovemyPirates Jan 15, 2014

    At some low ranking colleges, there are probably an equally high % of students who read on this same level but not at the high ranked Universities like UNC-CH. Athletes don't have to meet the admission standards set for the non-athlete student.

  • Alex25 Jan 15, 2014

    Her goal is to shut down the UNCCH diploma mill. I think her job was to educate the dimmer bulbs. The diploma mill system there took decades to perfect and the last thing the cheaters wanted was to hire someone that could/would ultimately bring the system down. Done deal, now.

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's possible that the same percentages of ALL UNC students read in the same ranges.I seriously doubt this. UNC has extremely high standards for its applicants that aren't 4 or 5 star athletes...

  • jurydoc Jan 15, 2014

    These data are absolutely meaningless without a context of the percentage of NON-athletes who also fall into the same categories. All too many students these days arrive at college with sub-par reading and math skills. It's possible that the same percentages of ALL UNC students read in the same ranges. Until those comparative data are provided, these alone are meaningless.

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You must've missed the memo about how UNC frowns on free speech... here's how they make sure they "don't talk"...

  • monami Jan 15, 2014

    I can't believe this is the big, bold front page story today on Although it kind of puts things in perspective about the priorities of this state.

  • nroberts95 Jan 15, 2014

    It is sad that students that meet the achievments GPA/SAT are not getting accepted at UNC over basketball and football players that cannot even read!! What a shame

  • Alex25 Jan 15, 2014

    Among the highest grades for J Peppers were his French courses. Yes, French. Does anyone really believe this was earned -- ??

    UNC-CH has shammed to its own benefit athletically for decades. The card house exposed fully now collapses.

  • mafiamic Jan 15, 2014

    The reason Football and basketball players go to College is not to learn 2+2=4 it is to get scouted and hopefully get into the pros and get the money that the college does not allow them to make while attending but the college makes billions of dollars because of the athletes.

Oldest First