Critics of the higher education system in this country and especially those who have long alleged college athletes get special treatment to maintain their academic eligibility have just been given an explosive piece of evidence. It’s severely lacking, has a page with only 146 words and contains grammar errors and misspellings. And it is worthy of an A-.
“It” is a final paper that was submitted by a University of North Carolina athlete and featured in an ESPN report this week. That report detailed two whistleblowers surrounding the the academics scandal that rocked the university this winter, where student athletes were “encouraged” to take “fake” classes in order to pad their grades, raise their GPAs and stay eligible to play sports.
“This is not even close to college work,” whistleblower Mary Willingham told ESPN, “yet this athlete was awarded an A-.”
The paper was a summary called “Rosa Parks: My Story”:
Willingham also explained that some students were reading at a second- and third-grade level, which is “illiterate” for an adult. Former UNC football player Deunta Williams also admitted to taking the classes — which in some cases were billed as independent studies — and said their reputation was well known.
It’s unclear if the page that Willingham showed is the full breadth of the essay, since another piece of paper with printed words on it is visible behind the first page. Business Insider reports the lone paragraph is the entire essay, however. Deadspin points out it’s a paper for an African-American studies class.
In the wake of the scandal, UNC has admitted to and apologized for the classes. However Willinghman says she has never been contacted by the NCAA to look into what she knows.
You can watch ESPN’s full report.
This story has been updated.