How many colleges have this shame going on?
‘Shame on us’: Colleges fail unprepared athletes, UNC whistleblower tells Capitol Hill panel
Raleigh News & Observer – Sports
By Brian Murphy
July 25, 2019 03:53 PM, Updated July 26, 2019 02:11 PM
UNC academic scandal explained.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was extensively investigated by the NCAA for a system of fake classes taken by thousands of students, roughly half of them athletes, that spanned three decades.
By McClatchy Video and The News & Observer
July 26, 2019: The headline and story have been updated for clarification.
Former University of North Carolina learning specialist Mary Willingham, who blew the whistle on a two-decade “paper classes” scheme intended to keep student-athletes at the school eligible, said some of the athletes she worked with were unable to read, yet they were admitted to the university because of their athletic prowess.
“When I went to the University of North Carolina as a learning specialist, I didn’t expect to have to teach kids to read,” she said. “… I had athletes who were so unprepared for the course work, they were working on reading — reading letters and sounds. They didn’t know. They were just passed along and we took them in the front door of the institution and promised them, in exchange for their talent, that we were going to provide them with a world-class education.
‘Does it sound possible?”
Willingham delivered her statements on Capitol Hill Thursday as part of a panel organized by Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. Murphy’s report on college sports and academic fraud is titled “How Colleges Keep Athletes on the Field and Out of the Classroom.” The report includes a section on the academic scandal at UNC. It is the second report in a series from Murphy called Madness, Inc., aimed at problems with college athletics.
The panel was not part of an official congressional hearing. It was held before a full house in a Senate committee hearing room.
Murphy said the treatment of college athletes, particularly in the revenue-producing sports of football and men’s basketball where the majority of athletes are black, is a “festering civil rights crisis.” He said college athletics is a $14-billion a year business where the majority of those making money are white adults.
“When student-athletes are being used as commodities to make money for adults and not being compensated or rewarded for the work they do,” Murphy said, “that’s a fairness issue. That’s a civil rights issue.”
Student-athletes, per NCAA rules, are not allowed to be compensated financially for playing. The organization has loosened rules in recent years and allowed schools to enhance the value of a scholarship through cost of attendance stipends. But athletes are currently prohibited from profiting off their names, images and likeness — a practice that Murphy and other lawmakers at the state and federal level are trying to end.
The players, proponents argue, are being compensated with a free education, a tangible and valuable benefit at a time when the cost of college is leaving many recent graduates with large student debt loads.