The Weigh-In: Student-Athlete Literacy

Today, UNC suspended the research of Mary Willingham, a reading specialist and former athletic tutor. Earlier in the week, Willingham contacted a CNN reporter with data showing low literacy rates among athletes on the UNC football and basketball teams. Administrators say that Willingham has violated Institutional Research Board policies by divulging the names of students involved in her research, which she was prompted to do by Jim Dean, vice chancellor and provost, after her contact with CNN. The administration has disputed Willingham’s findings, citing much higher student-athlete literacy rates over the period of her research. What’s your take?


“I’m excited to follow the discussion in The Daily Tar Heel’s comment section, where I know this complicated issue will be dealt with sensitively and rationally.”

Martha Dowell, ’16, History


“This situation is not as bad as it is being described. The fact is that from 2003 to 2012, only 34 UNC student-athletes failed a basic literacy test entering college. That’s not so bad.”

Carol Folt, Chancellor


“I hope my research into literacy rates on the club handball team doesn’t get this political.”

Len Schrader-Platt, Master’s Candidate, Education