Mary Willingham, a reading specialist who had been assigned to work with UNC’s athletes, blew the whistle loud and long as she described to Dan Kane how she had to work with football and basketball players who could only read at grade-school level. She worked with some that were “functionally illiterate” who couldn’t read at all. UNC is not alone in recruiting athletes who aren’t capable of reading a college text book. Such recruitment is happening now.
A former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein conducted an independent investigation of UNC’s athletic scandal, and what he found should have sounded alarm bells to every Division I university president, provost and administrator. As the Wainstein Report notes, athletic department staff “knew that these were easy courses that required no class attendance and that they resulted in consistently high grades for the student athletes.” That has prompted the Drake Group to ask a single question: how are university provosts checking for academic corruption in their athletic departments? The provost is the chief academic officer of the university. It is the provost who is responsible for assuring the university’s academic standards.
The Drake Group sent a public records request to every provost (except UNC Chapel Hill) in the big-money conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, and SEC) asking for:
Every analysis conducted by the university provost’s office since January 1, 2011 designed to check for academic corruption in your athletic department
Every analysis conducted since January 1, 2011 by an outside contractor/consultant hired by the provost’s office designed to check for academic corruption in your athletic department.