North Carolina

Willingham: Lack of educating student-athletes needs to change

Posted January 16, 2014

Mary Willingham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill adviser who claimed the UNC system is failing to help student-athletes receive an education, said Thursday that she believes the same thing happens at universities all over the country and is advocating for change.

“You have to have a system of eligibility. If you have a bunch of players that can’t do that work, you have to somehow get them eligible,” said Willingham told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9FM The Fan Thursday.

Willingham called the system of eligibility at North Carolina ‘paper classes’ where student-athletes did not have to attend class.

The adviser said she has received nearly a thousand emails from people confessing that they know about these systems and are aware about them happening at their own schools.

“We need to stop it. It needs to end because, bottom line, these young men that entertain us on game day are not getting what we’re promising them – a real education. And that should make all of us very, very angry,” Willingham said.

Willingham said she hopes people will step up and feel comfortable about doing it, but the real change may not occur without the voice of the former student-athletes themselves.

“We’re fighting a multi-million dollar machine – the NCAA. And people are afraid,” said Willingham. “Maybe [athletes will] stand up themselves or maybe they’ll sit down on the hardwood floor and say, ‘We’re not going to take this anymore. Enough already.’

“I’d like the think that we’re smart enough in this country to try and figure out how to do the right thing for these young people… maybe it’s going to be some sort of change in the system completely,” she said.

Willingham said she does not have the answers for the big picture but knows that at North Carolina it’s to teach the young players literacy skills and how to be successful in the classroom as well as on the field.

“That’s what we’re promising them, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Willingham.

Willingham works in the UNC Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling. From 2003 to 2010, she helped athletes in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. During the course of her work, both as a UNC graduate student and employee, Willingham researched how university admission standards are applied to athletes in the high-profile, revenue-driving sports of men's football and basketball and found that that 60 percent of the 183 athletes she studied read at a level more common in elementary school and up to 10 percent had the reading skills of a third grader.

Willingham said that she has never been contacted by the NCAA to share her findings even though she presented them to the general counsel in 2010, Governor Martin in 2012 and the provost Dean when he arrived last summer.

“Because I know too much. What are they going to do with me when I show them my data, when I tell them the truth, shut the whole thing down?” Willingham questioned.

2 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • vply2000 Jan 18, 2014

    PROVOST CLEARS UP REMARKS

    At the faculty council meeting Friday, UNC Provost Jim Dean said News & Observer staff writer Dan Kane misquoted him in a story on the controversy in Saturday’s paper. He also said that Kane did not respond to his request for a correction.

    After the meeting, Dean admitted that no one at UNC contacted The N&O to seek a correction. He apologized to Kane and also said UNC would issue a statement to the media reflecting that.

    Dean said that he was misquoted when The N&O reported that Dean thinks the scandal was not about athletics because nonathletes made up 55 percent of the total enrollments. Kane’s notes of the interview reflect Dean noting that most of the students who benefited were nonathletes.

    Dean said Friday that his position is this: “We did not have any evidence that these courses were initiated in order to benefit athletes. ... I didn’t even say that they weren’t. I said we don’t have any evidence that’s true.”

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/17/3542148/unc-leaders-say-mary-willinghams.html#storylink=cpy

  • Objective Scientist Jan 18, 2014

    Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults: The SATA Test that is "at issue". The test to which Willingham refers that UNC administrators "dispute" as a measure of reading and academic preparedness:

    Ages: 16 through 70
    Testing Time: 1 to 2 hours
    Administration: Individual or group
    The SATA measures the scholastic competence of persons from the ages of 16 through 70. Subtest raw scores are converted to estimated grade equivalents, standard scores (M = 10, SD = 3), and percentiles. The SATA's aptitude and achievement components can provide an aptitude-achievement discrepancy analysis needed for LD placement. The SATA was normed on 1,005 persons residing in 17 states, and the sample is representative of the nation as a whole with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, urban/rural residence, and geographic region. The SATA is technically sound, with reliabilities generally in the .80s and .90s. Reliabilities of that magnitude are generally regarded as "Very good - Excellent".

  • NFL: Oakland at Kansas City

    Thursday at 8:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Premier League: Leicester vs. Manchester City

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Franklin Templeton Shootout

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Utah at Xavier

    Saturday at 5:30 pm on FOX50

  • MLS: Seattle at Toronto

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Duke vs. Florida

    Tonight at 9:00 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • NHL: Canes at Anaheim

    Tomorrow at 10:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Canes at Los Angeles

    Thursday at 10:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Top 25
Sat, Dec 10
25
12:00 PT1:00 MT2:00 CT3:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Men's College Basketball
1
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
3
21
6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 北京时间7:30 MST9:30 EST
Preview
5
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
14
18
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 北京时间8:00 MST10:00 EST
Preview
20
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
23
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Dec. 8
Oakland 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET1:25 GMT9:25 北京时间6:25 MST8:25 EST7:25 CT5:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Kansas City 
Sunday, Dec. 11
Pittsburgh 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Buffalo 
San Diego 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Carolina 
Cincinnati 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Cleveland 
Chicago 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Detroit 
Houston 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Indianapolis 
Minnesota 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Jacksonville 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Miami 
Washington 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Philadelphia 
Denver 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Tennessee 
NY Jets 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET21:05 GMT5:05 北京时间2:05 MST4:05 EST3:05 CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
San Francisco 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Green Bay 
Atlanta 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Los Angeles 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Tampa Bay 
Dallas 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
NY Giants 
Monday, Dec. 12
Baltimore 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
New England 
NBA Scoreboard
Orlando 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Washington 
Chicago 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Detroit 
New York 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Miami 
San Antonio 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Minnesota 
Philadelphia 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Memphis 
Phoenix 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
NHL Scoreboard
Edmonton 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Buffalo 
Vancouver 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
New Jersey 
NY Rangers 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
NY Islanders 
Florida 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Philadelphia 
Montreal 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
St. Louis 
Colorado 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Nashville 
Detroit 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Winnipeg 
Arizona 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Chicago 
Calgary 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Dallas 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre