Insider: UNC-CH Tolerated Cheating



The N&O’s Dan Kane drops another bomb, this one pretty big.

Since most of us are nursing a Death Valley hangover and are currently busy watching some grown ups play football on the BIG stage (yes Pack fans, they do exist), there’s not going to be any commentary here, but we wanted to get this up and visible anyway.

Some quotes:

As a reading specialist at UNC-Chapel Hill, Mary Willingham met athletes who told her they had never read a book and didn’t know what a paragraph was. She said she saw diagnostic tests that showed they were unable to do college-level work.

But many of those athletes stayed eligible to play sports, she said, because the academic support system provided improper help and tolerated plagiarism. When she raised questions or made an objection to what she saw as cheating, she said, she saw no one take her concerns seriously.


Among her assertions:

• The no-show classes that had been offered by the chairman of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies date back at least to the time Willingham began working for the support program in 2003. Commonly known within the program as “paper classes,” they were billed as lecture classes, but the classes never met.

Willingham learned of them when she was asked to work with a female athlete on a paper. Willingham said the paper was a “cut-and-paste” job, but when she raised questions about it, staff members told her not to worry. The student later received a grade of B or better.

• Members of the men’s basketball team took no-show classes until the fall semester of 2009, when the team was assigned a new academic counselor. The new counselor was appalled to learn of the classes, and wanted no part of them. University records show the enrollments stopped that semester for basketball players, while they continued for football players.

• Numerous football and basketball players came to the university with academic histories that showed them incapable of doing college-level work, especially at one of the nation’s top public universities. Diagnostic tests administered by the university confirmed their lack of preparedness and also identified learning disabilities that would need extensive remediation to put them on a successful academic path.

Some athletes told Willingham they had never read a book or written a paragraph, but they were placed in no-show classes that required a 20-page paper and came away with grades of B or better.

• Roughly five years ago, Bobbi Owen, the senior associate dean who had oversight of the academic support program, sought to rein in the number of independent studies offered by the African studies department, which by then averaged nearly 200 a year. Independent studies required no class time and often not much more than a term paper; they were popular with football and basketball players.

Have at it in the comments section folks.

About Wufpacker

A 2nd generation alumnus and raised since birth to be irrationally dedicated to all things NC State. Class of '88 and '92.

UNC Scandal

18 Responses to Insider: UNC-CH Tolerated Cheating

  1. bluelena69 11/17/2012 at 9:31 PM #

    Any report issued by Martin that neglects to deal with the Walden issue should be widely panned as a complete farce

  2. Cosmo96 11/17/2012 at 9:39 PM #

    Shameful, repugnant, egregious…and absolutely nothing will come of this.

    (No, I’m not talking about our football program, I’m talking about this latest revelation out of U*NC)

  3. Wolf74 11/17/2012 at 9:50 PM #

    Let’s see …. she told UNC’s attorneys about this back in 2010 and never heard anything about it again from the university or the NCAA. Obviously UNC was surpressing this information and the NCAA knew nothing about it so the NCAA should be back in and take down 2-3 banners and force them to forfeit more football and lots of basketball games, or the NCAA was involved and if they were they should be disbanded.OH YES and a couple more things – 1) all their athletes should be allowed out of their LOI’s and be allowed to transfer – immediately 2) legislation should be introduced immediately into the State General Assembly to make it impossible for UNC-CHeats to ever gain control of the BOG again – that is after cleaning house in their BOT and firing Thorpe and the resignation of Swofford!

  4. wufpup76 11/17/2012 at 9:52 PM #

    Agree, nothing at all will come of this. For shame.

    Also, OT – but might as well get the headline ready for Maryland leaving the ACC. Conference will need to act quickly.

  5. howlie 11/17/2012 at 9:53 PM #

    So 2005 & 2009 banners come down…

  6. jbwbubba 11/17/2012 at 9:53 PM #

    I know of a certain ACC commish that will be thrilled with a soon to be Maryland distraction.

  7. grizzlyman 11/17/2012 at 10:10 PM #

    But after attending the recent funeral of former UNC system President Bill Friday, a prominent critic of revenue-driven college sports, and seeing that no one within the program was willing to admit that they had been aware of a problem, Willingham decided it was time to go public.

    Read more here:

    Good luck, Mary Willingham, I hope you make Dr. Friday’s dream, become UNX’s harsh reality.
    We are all %99.99999999999999 sure she is telling the truth, but if there aren’t others to come forward, or other hard evidence to back what she says, the Holes will keep on lawyering up and weaseling out of this.

  8. Wufpacker 11/17/2012 at 10:18 PM #

    ^ Ummm…you do realize that link is already in the entry, yes? First sentence actually.

  9. Alpha Wolf 11/17/2012 at 10:38 PM #

    This includes basketball, which I am convinced that they have been trying to firewall all along. Roy’s gonna need more than a BB-gun to fend off the coming storm.

    I do feel for Ms. Willgham, though. She’s going to have her name and her reputation drug through the mud by the UNC spin machine in the next few days.

  10. 87stategrad 11/18/2012 at 7:51 AM #

    Nothing will happen. Friday has passed and the Holes are enjoying their weekend.

  11. TOBtime 11/18/2012 at 7:58 AM #

    Brakk was right. There was more coming, this time from an insider, that was going to be big AND involve Roy – possibly leading to his retirement.

    Isn’t this just TOO bad. Arrogant, elitist cheating scum.

  12. 44rules 11/18/2012 at 10:45 AM #

    I’m shocked to find gambling in this establishment.

  13. lawful 11/18/2012 at 1:25 PM #

    She replaced Wayne Walden, whom Williams had described as one of the most important people in his program.

    I love that line…b/c no one could keep players eligible like he can.

  14. StateFans 11/18/2012 at 1:27 PM #

    The NCAA can’t hide from this any more — and, I love how the N&O slipped into their article about the severety of the penalties that Minnesota got for far less academic scandal.

    The limitations and pain within the UNC program could be lasting for years to come. Why wouldn’t Fedora get out asap?

  15. JKL 11/18/2012 at 2:10 PM #

    My wife went to UNC and has mentioned on numerous occasions how wide-spread and accepted blatant “student athlete” cheating was…

    The example she always gives is an “Economy and Society” class she had with Deion Thompson in 2009 (the year they won the NC). On multiple occasions she saw him with an iPod/iPhone on his lap DURING tests – scrolling through to find the answers. What is even more shocking is that she said the teacher was aware…. approached him and acknowledged what he was doing, but DID NOTHING ABOUT IT because of who he was!!!

  16. Wolf74 11/18/2012 at 4:12 PM #

    Thank goodness none of my family went to that Public Embarassment of a school. Did anybody that went there in the last 30 years actually earn a degree or did they all attend no-show classes? Pathetic!

  17. packof81 11/18/2012 at 10:28 PM #

    At this point, it doesn’t matter what new revelations come to light. The NCAA has made it abundantly clear the matter is closed.

    The UNC spin machine will go into overdrive and convince the powers that be to crack down on all schools because “everybody is doing it.”

  18. PackerInRussia 11/19/2012 at 1:28 PM #

    “It’s time to show schools that the NCAA means business. As a consequence for these latest revelations, I will remove my Michael Jordan inspirational poster from my office wall and NEVER look at it again.”

    Mark Emmert

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