Author of “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, The Education of Athletes, And The Future of Big-Time College Sports”

Mary Willingham

At a glance:

Known by many as the whistleblower of the largest academic scandal in NCAA history. She is an author, educator, activist and human resources professional.

Known by many as the whistleblower of the largest academic scandal in NCAA history. She is an author, educator, activist and human resources professional. Willingham has a BS in Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, and an MA in Liberal Studies from UNC-Greensboro. Her research includes studies on the NCAA and university admission procedures with regards to profit athletes, and their specific gaps in basic skill deficits, as well as the incidence of LD/ADHD. She is a co-owner of Paper Class Inc., a company dedicated to raising awareness about the need for NCAA reform. This past year, she was in Taylor Branch’s Documentary, “Schooled: The Price of College Sport” Bob Edwards Documentary, “ Dropping the Ball”and appeared on HBO Real Sports, ESPN Outside the Lines and CNN “Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th graders “with Sara Ganim. She was also featured in Paul Barrett’s February cover story – “In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes—and Whistle-Blower”Bloomberg Business Week Magazine. She has recently co-authored commentary published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The News & Observer, and Inside Higher Education as well as a book on the UNC-CH scandal, “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, The Education of Athletes, And The Future of Big-Time College Sports”.

  • Cheated: The UNC Scandal

    In 2010 allegations of an utterly corrupt academic system for student-athletes emerged from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, home of the legendary Tar Heels. For decades these internal systems have allowed woefully underprepared basketball and football players to take fake courses and earn devalued degrees from one of the nation's top universities while faculty and administrators looked the other way. In unbiased and carefully sourced detail, Cheated recounts the academic fraud in UNC's athletics department, even as university leaders focused on minimizing the damage in order to keep the billion-dollar college sports revenue machine functioning. Smith and Willingham make an impassioned argument that the "student-athletes" in these programs are being cheated out of what, after all, is promised them in the first place: a college education.

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