(CNN) -- The death threats, Mary Willingham expected. More shocking is that the University of North Carolina is now disavowing her research as a whistle-blower — research that showed between 8% and 10% of the school’s football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.
UNC issued a statement Wednesday night saying it did not believe Willingham’s account of a basketball player who could not read or write.
It went on: “University officials can’t comment on the other statistical claims mentioned in the story because they have not seen that data. University officials have asked for that data, but those requests have not been met.” As well as questioning UNC many times about the story before publication, CNN has also detailed Willingham’s research. And purported e-mail exchanges obtained by CNN since August show that Willingham did share her findings at least twice — once with Executive Vice Provost James W. Dean Jr., and once with a member of a university committee on academics and athletics.
In addition, Willingham says her research on the students in the athletics programs that make money for the university was done based on screenings that the university itself paid for. And, she says, she has gotten permission from the university several times since 2008 to access those findings to continue her research.
“It’s already available to them,” Willingham said. “It’s in their system. … They have all the data and more. It belongs to them, and they paid a lot of money for it.”
Listen as I said in the original blog, of course I believe this study, and of course I don’t care. It’s big time college sports. It’s not the board of MENSA out there playing 5 on 5. Sure you would hope that they could at least write their names on the top of the exams but some slip through the cracks, so what? That’s the trade off they made to come and win you national championships and make you billions of dollars and vault themselves into the pros. Don’t need to write The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over The Lazy Dog in cursive to play small forward for the Knicks on a 21 million dollar contract.
But this lady had to know what she was walking into right? I mean we ain’t talking about the East Bumfuck Commodores here. This is North Carolina. You’re in Tarheel country. One of the most prestigious college hoops programs of all time and big time D1 powerhouses in the country. Fucking Michael Jordan went there. Ever heard of him? So if you thought you were going to come out with some explosive study about how nobody at the school can read a book or write an English sentence and not get any heat for it or disowned for it you were hopelessly clueless. Spare me the sob story.