UNC academic scandal continues as advocacy group criticizes university's integrity

A national organization that advocates for student athletes is speaking out about student literacy allegations at UNC.
February 8, 2014 6:29:04 AM PST
A national organization that advocates for student athletes is speaking out about student literacy allegations at UNC.

The group says it was set to meet with UNC official this week but those discussions were cancelled.

"We have to call it what it is...these young men and young women cannot engage in 60 hour work weeks on the court and in the field and then go in there and compete with their peers in the classroom," said Emmett Gill, with Student-Athletes Human Rights.

A UNC spokesperson says that before meeting with the group, the university wants to complete an independent review of the controversial student literacy data.

The Student-Athletes Human Rights Project says it has offered to conduct that independent review of UNC advisor Mary Willingham's student literacy research for free. However, under order from the UNC system, the group says UNC declined that offer.

The student-athlete advocates say for them, this is an old issue, requiring new solutions. They say they raised concerns back in 2010 during the UNC football scandal that uncovered bogus classes.

"This really does start with Coach Williams and Coach Fedora because college coaches have a phenomenal amount of influence over student athletes," Gill said. "We're inviting primarily African American males to compete at UNC...and that's an issue."

However, Gill says it is not just a black issue. He says Willingham's own statistics include 30 percent white student athletes, and he wonders why that is not being talked about more.

"Why don't we call this what it is... and try to figure out how to ensure when they depart the university that they're as marketable as their non-student athlete peers," Gill said.

Willingham told ABC11 Friday that she is weighing her legal options and considering a lawsuit.

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