Whistleblower in UNC athletics scandal speaks to committee


Mary Willingham is an UNC instructor and academic advisor who alerted school officials early on to the fact that students, mainly athletes, were taking classes that never met.

She talked during a regular meeting for UNC's Faculty Athletics Committee, but there's nothing normal about what Willingham had to say.

She's a key link to allegations that the school knew about and covered up a long-time scam to help student athletes stay eligible. She offered advice to the committee on how to fix the situation.

"I say that we should guarantee scholarships for six year," said Willngham. "I heard you talking about that a little bit ago. It's going to take longer to get some of these athletes through our university. If we're honest with ourselves."

Last week, an Orange County grand jury indicted the former chairman of the African Studies department at UNC, Julius Nyang'oro, on a charge of obtaining property by false pretenses. More specifically for taking $12,000 for a class he did not teach according to the Orange County District Attorney.

Nyang'oro pleaded not guilty.

Willingham reportedly worked with multiple students who were enrolled in classes at UNC that never met. She told the school about it and complained several times. Ultimately she switched to a different job at the university because nothing was being done about it.

Since then, a handful of investigations have been working their way along. An official review by the school found 54 classes that had little or no indication of actual instruction.

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