By Amy Alkon
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.
The Truth Will Sometimes Set You Freer Than You’d Like
Collegiate sports programs are money-making machines. So what if Johnny Football Player can’t read, right?
Well, Jonathan Turley blogged that a North Carolina professor looked into the educational standards for athletes and found the athletes sorely lacking in their abilities. As in, 8 to 10 percent of the school’s football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.
This means, if they get injured or don’t make the pros, they can basically work as busboys in a diner after four years of college.
The university reacted predictably — as did the public. No, not worrying that adults enrolled in it can barely make it through a story from the kiddie section of the library:
The university seemed to go immediately on the offensive, including questioning her data showing a basketball player who could not read or write. What is interesting is the statement that “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.” However, Willingham says that the data came from the University and remains in the possession of the University.
At the same time, Willingham has received dozens of death threats from fans of the university teams. She has been a source of the local media investigation into the program and is considered a whistleblower by many.
As many of you know, I love football. However, there comes a time when sports threatens the very soul of an institution. The University of North Carolina (and particularly its faculty) needed to make a choice as to whether it is a leading academic institution or just a facilitator for sporting events.
Back to the story, at the News & Observer link above, it says Willingham found one basketball player illiterate. The university disputes that finding. Also from that piece, a story by Dan Kane, Jane Stancill, and Andrew Carter:
Willingham played a major role in The News & Observer’s work exposing a major academic fraud scandal involving the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. In August 2011, the N&O reported that a football player’s transcript showed he had taken an upper-level class in the department in the summer of 2007 and received a high grade despite needing remedial writing the following fall semester as an incoming freshman.
Willingham told the N&O shortly after that …read more