UNC says 97 percent of its athletes are college-literate

Chancellor Carol Folt pins letter to campus community about recent reports on student reading levels
January 16, 2014 8:12:44 PM PST
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is once again defending their academics surrounding student-athletes.

It comes as the university works to sort out research by Mary Willingham, a UNC learning specialist.

Willingham claims that dozens of Carolina student-athletes read at elementary and middle school levels. She also has said only 10 percent of the athletes she screened were "functionally literate" and 39 percent were learning disabled.

In a press release issued Thursday, the university said the office of undergraduate admissions has analyzed the reading skills of its student-athletes.

The release went on to say that all 154 student-athletes who enrolled in fall 2013 met the reading skills threshold established by CNN after Willingham's interview. Between 2004 and 2012, UNC said it enrolled 1,377 first-year student-athletes and more than 97 percent of those met the CNN threshold.

The CNN-defined threshold for student-athletes says a "college-literate" student would have an SAT Critical Reading or Writing score of 400 or score a 16 on the ACT.

"We evaluate every student as carefully as we know how," said Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. "The primary criterion for admission for all students, including student-athletes, is the student's capacity to succeed academically at the University. We only admit students who we believe have the capacity to succeed."

Meanwhile, former football player Michael Mcadoo called the academic environment for athletes at UNC "a scam," in a recent interview with a local newspaper.

Chancellor Carol Folt sent out an e-mail to the campus community addressing reports about student literacy. Folt says she is taking the "claims very seriously."

"We are investigating all the claims being made and, if they are found to have merit, I will take all appropriate actions."

» Click here to read Chancellor Folt's entire message «

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