Larry K. Mason: UNC’s report

January 17, 2014 

As a retired employee of UNC-CH, I hae been drawn to your series of articles and the Jan. 14 editorial “Willingham’s Way,” concerning the athletes on scholarship at UNC. Now I can’t speak to Mary Willingham’s data because, to my knowledge, it has not been released. But UNC has made available online a report on athletes for the years 2004 to 2013. The report (find it at nando.com/uncreport) addresses a CNN report on reading skills of student athletes.

Among the findings: Between 2004 and 2012, there were 341 first-year student-athletes enrolled for football, men’s and women’s basketball through the special-talent policies and procedures. More than 90 percent (307) of those students met the CNN reading skills threshold. Of the 34 students who did not meet the threshold, 20 have graduated from the university or remain enrolled in good standing. Ten have left the university but are academically eligible to return. And only four would have to restore academic eligibility to return.

Somehow that doesn’t seem as if the university is abusing or exploiting those student-athletes nor does it seem that the university is failing to make available every opportunity to succeed. On their face, these figures give the lie to any contention that the students admitted could not do college work.

Larry K. Mason

Chapel Hill

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