Worries about athletes linger for UNC faculty
Posted April 23, 2014
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The committee tasked with monitoring the academic performance of student-athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has made progress, Chairwoman Joy Renner said, but some still have doubts.
"We are looking from recruiting to graduation," Renner said, "making sure they (coaches) are very clear about what someone needs to come here with, what kind of tools they need to come here."
Her claims stand in contrast to the findings of academic adviser Mary Willingham, who drew national attention in January when she told CNN that most of the 183 basketball and football players she reviewed from 2004 to 2012 read at an eighth-grade level or below.
Willingham's report was the latest in a string of damaging allegations that UNC smoothed the academic path for select athletes. University leaders have said there was no systematic process of impermissible aid for athletes and have pointed the finger of blame for less-than-credible courses at the former head of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, who has since retired.
Some at Wednesday's forum, sponsored by the Faculty Athletics Committee, said the university is still in denial over the problem.
Renner prefers to see view the harsh attention as a spur for positive change.
Willingham told Chancellor Carol Folt this week that she will leave the university after finishing her classes this semester.