Mary Willingham

Mary Willingham
Chris Griffin / Daily Tar Heel

The reading specialist who questioned the literacy level of athletes who were admitted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says she's resigning at the end of the semester. 

Mary Willingham confirmed her decision to WUNC after a closed-door meeting with UNC Chancellor Carol Folt.

South Building and the Old Well, UNC Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt

An independent review is discrediting the findings of a whistleblower at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Mary Willingham is an academic advisor at UNC-Chapel Hill who first blew the whistle on no-show classes two years ago. More recently she claimed that one-fourth of all Carolina athletes were reading at our below a fourth-grade level.

UNC-Chapel Hill officials disputed the methods she used in making that assertion. The school hired three professors at other institutions to review Willingham’s data.

UNC Athletics Logo
UNC-Chapel Hill

Mary Willingham is a polarizing name in Chapel Hill these days. The academic advisor at UNC says a majority of football and men’s basketball players are woefully underprepared for the college classroom. University administrators dispute those claims. As the credibility of Willingham’s findings has been called into question, she’s asking how universities can better educate these young men.

The worlds of academics and big-time athletics often operate independently with little overlap. In recent weeks at UNC the two have converged, or maybe more accurately, collided.