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Mar 28, 2014 11:55 AM EDT

UNC Academic Scandal Deepens: Whistleblower Provides Poorly Written Essay With an A- Stamped on It (READ)


The academic scandal whistleblower at the University of North Carolina has brought forth hard evidence of her claims that athletes were enrolled in false courses to bolster their GPAs.

Speaking with ESPN in a new segment, Mary Willingham provided a paper on Rosa Parks written by an athlete for a class called "AFAM 41." Her initial claim is that the African American Studies Department (AFAM) has held false classes UNC student-athletes As and Bs to keep them eligible to play in their sport.

The paper on Rosa Parks - despite being poorly written, void of detail and any correct punctuation - received an A-.

"I became aware of this paper class system that students were taking classes that didn't really exist, they were called independent studies at that time and they just had to write a paper," Willingham told ESPN.

The concept of a paper class is simple. The student enrolls in the class, writes a paper and gets whatever grade is needed to boost the GPA.

"You know you could chill [in the paper class], get help writing [the paper]. You're going to get an easy B if you have a reading level of third grade," Deunta Williams, a UNC defensive back from 2007 to 2010, said in the segment. He said he enrolled in these classes even though he did not need the GPA help and he knew of teammates who also enrolled in these classes.

"If a guy was in [academic] trouble, the immediate response was 'why not put him in a paper class where he can receive help, get an A or a B out of this class for writing a good paper,'" said Williams. "[I'm] angry at myself... for having these blinders on."

Willingham said Dean of the College, the Dean in Advising of Undergraduate Curriculum, the AFAM studies dept. and all the coaches were complicit in this "scam." She said plenty of administrators had to see these athletes' transcripts, which would list all As and Bs for AFAM classes, Ds and Fs for "biology and economics."

"Athletes couldn't write a paper, they couldn't write a paragraph, they couldn't write a sentence," Willingham said. "Some of these students could read maybe at a second- or third-grade level, but for an adult that is considered illiterate."

Former AFAM chair Julius Nyang'oro was recently arrested and indicted for accepting compensation "under false pretenses." He was supposedly responsible for a great deal of the signatures that OK's these paper classes.

"It was just a scam, the whole thing. It was a joke, it was so obvious," Willingham said.

Williams said the NCAA would not care about something like this because they want everyone to focus on their stand against paying athletes. Meanwhile, Willingham said her peers were trying to get her to stop what she was doing because "everyone is cheating."

"I've never spoke to an NCAA representative. Never," she said. "They don't want to talk to me because I know too much and because I'm willing to tell too much."

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