In a CNN story from last week, reading specialist Mary Willingham made some startling allegations against the North Carolina Tar Heels. More specifically, the way in which they have educated their student-athletes.
Willingham alleged that 60 percent of football or basketball players were only reading at a fourth-to-fifth grade level. That was during research she did from 2004-2012 that consisted of her examining 183 student-athletes. If it were to be true that would entail a large, horrific and unusually atrocious academic issue at the university.
Naturally, the school has denied this allegation. In fact, it has been largely pushed to the wayside by the public and has had very little discussion by large sports networks. Likely because of the impact it would have if anyone were to jump to uneducated conclusions and be wrong (example, Duke lacrosse story).
Still, one would think the allegation itself would gain a little traction. Willingham is — at least reportedly — not some scrub.
Regardless, North Carolina chancellor Carol Folt said that she is taking Willingham’s studies very seriously, but is halting an investigation at the moment because Willingham’s data does not match that of the school’s. Which, honestly, isn’t surprising. It just means that either Willingham is a crock, attention seeker or a bad at her job, or you know, that someone who is guilty isn’t going to allow an internal study to show that they are guilty.
Unfortunately for North Carolina, or at least the perception of them, Willingham is not alone in calling the university’s education to athletes a scam. Michael McAdoo, a former football player, recently told The News and Observer of Raleigh that academic advisors at the school pointed him in the direction of no-show classes and literally called the entire thing “a scam.” In the interest of full disclosure, though, it should also be pointed out that McAdoo was ruled permanently ineligible for academic reasons. Some think that this might be a guy with an agenda. Obviously, no one really knows.
Here is the what is what with all of this. At this moment in time, anyone who is commenting on whether North Carolina is doing some morally reprehensible thing or that this is just some weird, unmerited allegation is taking uneducated guesses. This is, still, what it is until we find out more.
North Carolina, though, would go a very long way in helping itself out if they were to let an external, independent investigator come in and find out what is going on. Not let their own board of admissions review themselves. I mean, you wouldn’t let an accused tax-fraud fella do his own audit, right?.
Until then, major media, blogs and the rest of the Interwebs seem oddly silent regarding the matter.
Weird, I know. What, no one has any hot sports takes on this one?
Oh, trust me. I am glad too.