North Carolina Tar Heels May Be In The Clear With Academic Scandal

By Jeremy Roth
Roy Williams
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Today, on the official website for North Carolina athletics (, an article was posted regarding CNN’s allegations towards the school regarding the lack of “college-literate” students participating in athletics at the university. CNN declared its own threshold for what a college-literate student actually is, and it was all based upon their SAT and ACT scores. According to the article, a college-literate student scores a 400 on the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT or a 16 on the ACT. CNN used information given to them by a university learning specialist named Mary Willingham, who said that 10 percent of the student athletes that she tested were illiterate and basically did not belong at the university, regardless of their athletic ability. In the article, the university states that Willingham did not represent the school in their report, and that the information that CNN observed from her was false.

If CNN actually consulted the university as a whole for their report, then they would have found out that since 2004, more that 97 percent of the student-athletes enrolled in the university actually met their threshold. Of the 39 students that did not meet the threshold, 34 of them have graduated or are on the right path towards graduating from the university. In a previous article, I outlined the current investigation by the NCAA regarding the “paper classes” put into place to boost the grades of the student-athletes because they were essentially not college ready. I mean, if more than  97 percent of the student-athletes came into the university meeting CNN’s threshold, then why would the university need to have them attend these paper classes? If this information is found to be true, then it would severely help the school in being found innocent towards these allegations.

Like I said in my previous article, if the Tar Heels are found to be guilty of the allegations, they can be stripped of their 2005 and 2009 national championships and head coach Roy Williams can face some serious consequences. This is really just another distraction off the court that the Tar Heels do not need or want right now. They are 0-3 in the ACC and are blatantly struggling in all aspects of their game. How could they focus on improving their shooting percentage and defensive tactics if they have the threat of major suspensions hovering over them?

Many fans do not really focus on it, but these athletes have a lot more on their plate than just basketball. If their whole academic purpose at the university is taken care of and in the clear, then they can focus more on the athletic portion of their scholarship. Right now, the Tar Heel basketball team needs to focus on their athletic ability more than anything. In their past three games, they have been dominated on all aspects of the court. They are shooting well below their normal average, turnovers are haunting them tremendously, and they are currently looking up in the standings at teams that are far less talented than they are. The NCAA needs to do whatever investigating necessary to put this to rest at last, so that the Tar Heels can get back to focusing on their goals of being successful in March.

This information is a huge breakthrough to the entire scandal, and only time will tell just how important it is regarding the university’s innocence. Right now, the team can rest easier and prepare for their important matchup against Boston College on Jan. 18 in which they hope to receive their first conference win.

This is not a situation to be taken lightly, because these athletes are supposed to be students first, but with 97 percent of the students declared college-literate, the NCAA may need to reevaluate their accusations.

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