The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill athletic scandals are the gifts that keep on giving for anybody interested in cleaning up corruption in college sports. Mary Willingham, an academic advisor who has worked with many athletes over the years, recently produced a study showing that many of the school’s athletes in the revenue-producing sports of football and men’s basketball read at an elementary school level.
There has been a steady stream of evidence that this was the case. In one incident, a former UNC football player got caught plagiarizing—from a web site for 11-year-olds. Now, Willingham has pretty much made it certain with her empirical report.
CNN has followed suit with a more general study of 21 schools that corroborates her findings. The studies completely sweep away the grand façade built to maintain the lie that all of the players on the collegiate playing fields or courts are actual students. Many of them cannot possibly benefit from instruction above the elementary or junior high school levels without years of intensive remediation. Their proper status is as professional athletes.
Roy Williams, UNC-Chapel Hill’s championship-winning basketball coach, has mounted a passionate defense of his players’ academic prowess. Nobody is falling for it, however. The studies present very powerful arguments against him in the form of facts.