North Carolina’s academic programs for athletes have been scrutinized for years. Recently, they were investigated for steering athletes into no-show classes, unauthorized grade changes and forged signatures. The scandal gained additional notoriety over the past week after CNN published an article that claimed many collegiate basketball and football players can’t read past an 8th-grade level.
Research from learning specialist Mary Willingham, who researched the reading levels of 183 UNC-Chapel Hill athletes who played football or basketball from 2004 to 2012, was used in the study. She found that 60% read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels, and that between 8% and 10% read below a third-grade level.
Many people have been investigated and lost jobs for their roles in the academic scandal at UNC, and now one former Tarheel player is calling UNC’s academics program for athletes “a scam.”
Michael McAdoo, who was kicked off the football team in 2010 for having a tutor do improper work for him on three term papers, told the Raleigh News & Observer about some of the academic practices. He says he was pushed into taking several no-show classes and other classes that his academic counselors knew he could pass.
“I felt like I was done wrong,” McAdoo told the News & Observer. “The university didn’t stand up; they didn’t have my back. They said academics is the first thing they were going to push – ‘You are going to do academics and then play sports.’ But come to find out it just felt like it was all a scam.”
Stories like McAdoo’s are critical now because of the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit. O’Bannon is suing the NCAA for using his likeness in a video game without compensation One of the NCAA’s biggest defenses is that the athletes receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of a college education. But cases like McAdoo’s help to show that many athletes receive little educational value from their schools.
McAdoo was signed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 but released in June. He currently plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.