Jay Smith: Starting Over With Bradley Bethel

When I learned last week that UNC learning specialist Bradley Bethel had launched an unprovoked personal attack on me at his website, I reacted first with a certain amount of disbelief (I asked him: “Have you lost your mind?”) and then—as is my habit—with a flood of words. Over a period of several hours I wrote a 4,000-word blow-by-blow refutation of his assault and prepared to launch it into the ether.

Lucky for me, I have many friends. Many smart friends. After proofing my mini-dissertation, they all reminded me that such tit-for-tat personal disputes rarely leave anyone looking like a winner, and that the cause of NCAA (and UNC) reform would not be advanced one iota by more charges and counter-charges involving questions of personal character.

So I have decided not to answer insult with insult. I will trust that my record of integrity speaks for itself. I will, however, make one last (and mercifully brief) effort at peacemaking. After all, one of the great mysteries of Bradley Bethel’s fierce hostility to me and to Mary Willingham is that…it really shouldn’t be this way at all. Bethel knows that on the big issues Mary Willingham is absolutely right. He has conceded that UNC has admitted badly underprepared athletes in the past; he concedes that the paper class system was perpetuated at least in part to help those athletes; he wrote Chancellor Folt eight months ago to complain that “there have been many student-athletes who were specially admitted [at UNC] whose academic preparedness is so low they cannot succeed here.” Both he and Willingham have passionately insisted that all athletes can and should be properly educated and that the University too often falls down on the job. On the fundamentals, in short, there is a broad swath of agreement.

Indeed, the discrepancy between what Bethel is saying now about the UNC athletic program and what he has said in the recent past is fairly breathtaking. According to a presentation he gave to the Faculty Athletics Committee last spring, he recently helped to establish in the Academic Support Program a “Learning Engagement and Enhancement Program” (LEEP) the explicit purpose of which is to support the “most academically challenged” athletes at UNC. One of the program goals he laid out for the benefit of the committee is to increase students’ reading comprehension and “fluency with college-level vocabulary.” (This obviously suggests they did not have such fluency when they arrived.) Another goal of LEEP, he explained, is to have students demonstrate over time an “increased ability to compose college-level texts.” In response to a question from a professor at that meeting, Bethel admitted that some of the athletes in LEEP, which has about eighty participants at any one time, will not achieve college-level reading and writing proficiency even after four years of intensive remediation. In a powerpoint slide that he forgot to omit from his final presentation to FAC, he even jokingly pinpointed a strategy for improving the program’s success rate: “How about admitting kids who can graduate from LEEP! Ha!” Yet now Bethel stands with Admissions director Steve Farmer and the University in claiming that at UNC we admit only those students we think will succeed. (Farmer insists this has always been the case, even though the University—for some mysterious reason—has recently moved to tighten admission standards.) Although he works in a remedial program that annually enrolls eighty students, Bethel now wants to tell the world that in his four years as a learning specialist he has encountered only three students “whose fluency was as limited as those Willingham described” in the famed CNN story. (This certainly conflicts with the rhetoric of his appeal to Folt, in which he cited “many student-athletes” who were so badly prepared that “they cannot succeed here.”) What exactly is going on? There seems to be a certain amount of cognitive dissonance that needs resolving.

To get past the dissonance, I would like to offer an invitation. Join forces with us, Bradley Bethel. UNC and every big-time sport university have an obligation to educate all students well. You clearly agree with that premise, but you seem not to have realized just yet that the current system needs to be dismantled if universities are ever going to get around to doing their duties again. We must ensure that athletes have both the support and the basic abilities necessary to succeed in a challenging academic environment. We must fight against a system that drains their time, constrains their range of motion, and limits their academic choices. We must fight to see that they have a voice at the bargaining table, that their health and well-being are protected over the long term, and that they enjoy the same basic economic and civil rights that every other student takes for granted. The energy required for this reform movement also means that petty personal attacks and time-wasting screeds just have to stop.

This will be my last word about any of your objections to me, Mary Willingham, or our work. But if you want to climb on board the reform bandwagon, you are hereby invited to pick up the phone. I will gladly bury the hatchet. I will even buy the first round of drinks.

Liz Arredondo

VP of Communications at Paper Class Inc.

Liz is the VP of Communications for Paper Class Inc. under the direction of PCI's President, Mary Willingham. Liz is a strong believer in the promise of higher education and the goals of PCI to support college athletes' rights to a real education.


  1. Fellow Academic says:

    Exactly the kind of civil discussion requested by Chancellor Folt. Thank you Professor Smith for taking the higher road. My hope is Bradley Bethel will join you for drinks.

  2. Smith and Willingham should disclose financial interests in their writing. This blog has no disclosure despite the fact that Paper Class inc is registered in NC as a for-profit corporation. Basic ethics 101.

    It is also becoming abundantly clear that Smith and Willingham do not wish to make their IRB application public. They should comply with Bethel’s request as an exercise in transparency.

  3. The Battering Ram says:

    Jay, you seem to have a propensity for interpreting criticism of your work and activities as personal attacks. It’s amazing that someone so thin-skinned can be in the position you are in.

    Your claims of being a victim of personal attacks ring hollow especially after your and Mary’s continued assault on the character and intelligence of our student athletes. Because of your insolent behavior, all student athletes will be subject to suspicions from their peers that they do not belong at UNC. It’s absolutely shameful that you have perpetuated the “dumb jock” stereotype. Your elitist and racist stance on this issue does your end goal of “NCAA reform” far more harm than good.

    The truth matters. Mary’s research will be proven to be faulty if not grossl negligent by the peer review. Mary lied in the media over her portrayal of the “A- paper.” The ends do not justify the means.

    • So its racist for a professor to want to clean up academics for student athletes and allow them to receive a better education? Yet its not racist for the school to set up an entire program that siphons athletes into easy/no show classes in a major they may not even want to have? The sole reason being that they stay eligible in order to generate huge amounts of money for the university.

      • The Battering Ram says:

        It is incredibly elitist (and, yes, racist undertones most certainly exist) when a professor at UNC, a school that prides itself as being the “University of the People,” no less essentially says that an entire class of students who disproportionately tend to be African American do not belong at UNC.

        • That sounds like a UNC-CH admissions problem, not Jay Smith’s. Better be glad he’s trying to clean up that mess too.

    • “Mary’s continued assault on the character and intelligence of our student athletes…”

      The assault is on the UNC athletic department and administration, not on the character and intelligence of the student athletes. UNC defenders should really stop using the student-athletes as human shields to try to deflect the criticisms of those entrusted to put the “student” before the “athlete.”

    • Talk about taking deflection to a higher level. Let’s keep shooting the messenger. I’m still amazed at how powerful the UNC athletics propaganda machine has succeeded over the decades in producing such blind, unquestioning followers. to equate what Mr. Smith and Ms. Willingham have done as an attack on the athletes can only come from a wilfull ignorance that must be sincere. It can only be explained by what amounts to brain washing.

  4. Release the IRB application, otherwise your complaints to transparency are meaningless.

  5. Jay, your bias prevents you from realizing that the personal attacks have mostly come from you and MW. Bethel pointing out inconsistencies in your argument, as well as untruths presented as ‘fact’ by MW and yourself, does not constitute a personal attack.

    As the paper clips and duct tape holding you and MW’s argument together continue to come apart (please note that is an attack on your work, not a personal attack - get it?), it will be amusing to see your blog posts. Your many smart friends saved you this time; I’m sure that won’t always be the case.

  6. For all UNC fans that want so badly for MW research to be inconsistent, you are obviously missing what Jay and MW are trying to do and that is to really educated “STUDENT-ATHLETES”. It really doesn’t matter what the number is, fact of the matter is that many of the “STUDENT-ATHLETES” at UNC are not getting a proper education. Instead of trying to discredit Jay and MW, you should be supportive of their cause if you truly care about education.

    • The facts do matter. For example, your claim that “many” of the student-athletes at UNC are not receiving a proper education is baseless without some type of supporting evidence. Most student-athletes at UNC receive an outstanding education, and are undeserving of the “dumb jock” label. Stretching the facts and withholding the truth undermines what would otherwise be a positive mesage. It also brings into question one’s motives.

      • I guess you don’t realize that the research done by Mary Willingham IS the supporting evidence that athletes don’t receive a proper education. They are merely sifted through the system while every drop of worth is extracted from them.

        The Powers That Be at UNC-CH are the one’s withholding truth. If this weren’t true, how hard would it be for UNC-CH to prove it? They haven’t been able to for going on 4 years now.

        Why would the motives of a man who has been a professor at UNC-CH for 25 years be questioned when the issue is reforming academic inadequacies amongst student athletes? The motives for covering it up are clear for the UNC-CH Athletic Department and boosters.

        • Unethically collected and poorly analyzed research is not much for support.

          How would UNC prove, to your satisfaction, that athletes are receiving a proper education?

          The man who has been a professor for 25 years has been caught in several lies and is currently publishing a book on the subject. So, money and attention are pretty clearly motivating factors.

          • I have never been “caught in a lie.” Never. I’m not wired to lie. Nor do I have any interests to protect by doing so.

            • Professor, While I almost certainly deeply disagree with you on many of these issues, I find it unfortunate that so much personal vitriol has been expressed. Alas, that is the nature of the internet. It is not for the thin-skinned. I have little doubt that your motives are laudable, and even less doubt that your opinions on the French revolution and related matters are among the best-informed in the English speaking world, and a great asset to the University. That being said, I don’t think social science research is your wheelhouse, and you should probably prepare yourself for a deservedly harsh critique of Ms. Willingham’s research, not because the university is trying to squash a whistle-blower, but because “mistakes were made.” That does not mean your position is invalidated, but you should not expect to use the numbers from that research to validate your position.

              • How about the fact that the 2005 national basketball team’s starting 5 and one additional player (as you call him, #6 guy) took a combined 69 paper classes?
                The truth is in the transcripts. How about those numbers?

                • The Battering Ram says:

                  Don’t see how that isn’t another FERPA violation.

                • If this is true, then how many of these were classes taken after 4 out of the 6 gave up basketball eligibility? Including one who gave up 3 years of eligibility and continued working towards a degree? If I am not mistaken, 3 out of 4 earned their degrees despite going pro early - shouldn’t that be celebrated?

                  Also, Ms. Willingham - please answer, how many paper classes did you take to get your master’s degree? How many that way versus how many did you go to a class regularly? Let’s see how that is for facts.

                  Let’s see your master’s transcript and while you are showing that, how about your IRB application.

            • Daren Lucas says:

              Really Jay? why don’t you just release the IRB application, the application that added you and Southall, the cease letter Mary received from on Jan 16.

              Then let’s revisit the “caught in a lie” statement.

              Go ahead and release them so we don’t have to wait for public records releases.

              Full transparency is what you preach.

              Oh and one more. Please release all certifications the group members received for human research ethics training. We know you had access to identifiable data but you say that mistakes were just made on the forms. Well if you intended to do human research, every group member would have completed this training. Let’s see it.

            • Jay is too clever to be caught in a lie. He is the smartest man in the room always. Just ask him, I’m sure he will tell us.

          • Ok. What about the Martin Report? A review done by UNC-CH’s own hired gun.
            From the Martin Report:
            In all, 216 course sections – roughly 40 percent – had “proven or potential anomalies.”

            Martin found no less than 454 unauthorized grade changes and change-of-grade requests offered under the forged signatures multiple non-tenured professors within the department without their knowledge.

            How’s that for support?

            • If you’re going to reference the Martin Report, at least be aware of the details. Parroting Dan Kane’s numbers isn’t helping your credibility.

          • “Unethically collected and poorly analyzed…”

            The university collected the data, and the quality of the analysis is yet to be verified. Has it really been 11 weeks since the Provost promised a 3rd party review? And yet here we are with critics of Mary Willingham still relying on the Provost’s unverified claim (or Bradley Bethel’s speculation) that the analysis is poor?

            Why is this taking so long to get a simple independent review so those of us not privy to the data and its analysis can know once and for all if either side’s claim is true? Folt and Dean aren’t fishing for the answer they want, are they, having already issued the University’s stand?

            • Daren Lucas says:

              B. Martin, you are about get answers and more answers…..some really good answers.

              But if you are curious in the meantime, like I was, just replay the HBO piece in slow motion and get a good look at the data. Then buy yourself a SATA Examiners Manual.

              Then go to the UNC Learning Center site and review all of their offerings.

              Then make a complete list of all the test scores and protocols that a professional learning specialist/researcher would include in a true study.

              And then take a seat and ask yourself how she still has a job.

    • They want to educate the student athletes? Huh????? Where have you gotten that opinion from?

      Mr. Smith wants to eliminate sports from colleges.

      Ms. Willingham continues to spout stories that are harming the student athletes you say she wants to educate.

      Name 3 recommendations either has given in all their interviews.

      And why is this website for profit?

  7. Outraged Taxpayer says:

    200+ fake classes, 500+ grade changes, and 20+ years of cheating. UNC-CH has been exposed as the most corrupt institution of higher learning in the history of the United States and yet the attackers still attack the messenger.

    • Sensationalism (200+ “fake” classes, 500+ “grade changes”, etc) will not bring banners down. I know it’s difficult for state fans to come to grips with that, but they really should because UNC is moving on regardless.

      • If UNC were really moving on than they would own the cheating over the last 20 years. Instead they lie and deny. It’s amazing UNC has thrown academics under the bus just to save the reputation of their basketball program. The fact is UNC cheated to keep players eligible and everyone knows it.

    • DanKane'sFuzzyMath says:

      Do some research on those Dan Kane numbers you’re referencing. They aren’t even close to accurate.

  8. Fellow Academic says:

    The IRB application is irrelevant to this blog entry. Do some research and you will find Bradley Bethel made the statements attributed to him. Bradley and the University of North Carolina claim that changes have been made and we should move forward. What changes were made? It would be a simple question to answer. Publish all affected policies as they were written the day before it changed and the day after it changed. Better yet, release the documents in their Word Revision Mode which will clearly show the changes. Be transparent. Let the taxpayers that fund the UNC System see the change.

    • I respectfully disagree. Dr Smith purports to be in this for reform, transparency, etc. The data is at the center of his argument or it was to begin with and he is now backing away. If the IRB never approved primary research, then how can Dr. Smith’s colleague Ms Willingham make the statements she does about athletes on the current team or former athletes, etc. I think what you and others are missing is that adherence to ethics and to the process matters here. Mr Bethel made this a key piece of his blog aimed at Dr. Smith so it does matter.

      If Dr Smith wants the changes he purports, he has to take the high road and demonstrate the top ethics or he is no better than Jim Baker or Jimmy Swaggart.

      • Fellow Academic says:

        You want to ignore the tumor because you don’t like the manner in which it was discovered. Seems to me the prudent thing to do is address the cancer and be thankful it was found in time.

  9. The Battering Ram says:

    I can’t help but laugh at the ncstatelol fans that so suddenly care about academics at another school when they would be best served improving the academic situation at the school that US News & World Report ranks last in the ACC.

    • NC Taxpayer says:

      Another deflection. Exactly the reason why tax payers and prominent alum are losing faith that the UNC administration will clean up this mess.

      • Incoming student-athletes, both revenue and non revenue, at UNC have had higher GPAs and SAT scores than those at State for years. For example, did you know State’s 2010 and 2012 basketball classes had an average SAT score of 773 and 780, respectively? How are those kids staying eligible at State? Might be something worth looking into, yeah? Might want to tend to your own glass house before throwing stones at others.

        • The Battering Ram says:

          Athletes at ncstatelol are staying eligible because the curriculum is already dumbed down enough to cater to the regular student. ncstatelol is an absolute joke of a school.

        • Fellow Academic says:

          OK. Explain how any of the statistics for NC State’ athletes is relevant to what has been uncovered and confirmed, on camera, by three graduated student athletes from UNC?

          • The Battering Ram says:

            What did those three athletes claim? That they were steered to certain classes in which they would be more able to do the coursework. What a terrible sin that is. On the other hand, if ncstatelol is enrolling athletes of an even less academic caliber than that of UNC, then how are they being shuffled through the system?

            • Fellow Academic says:

              Perhaps they aren’t being shuffled through the system which is why NC State periodicly has academic casualties.

              • NCStateLOL says:

                Philip Williamson, Jamal Womble, and Keeon Virgile are academic casualties from the UNC football team in the last few years.

              • The Battering Ram says:

                So if they’re not being shuffled through, then what’s going on? Is it that ncstatelol is a lot less rigorous of a school as my initial comment suggested?

  10. There is no denying the fact, admitted to by the chancellor, that UNC cheated in order to win more football and basketball games. Cheaters do not deserve the wins that result. Any school should be proud of banners they win and hang in the arena or on the stadium walls. But how can you be proud of banners that were obtained through cheating? That says all one needs to know about your character.

    • I don’t remember NCSU taking down their banner when the NCAA punished them for LOIC…

      Sour grapes….

    • I guess this is what happens when your own athletic program has been irrelevant for decades. Nothing is going to change. UNC will still beat up on little brother and you will remain a conference bottom feeder.

      • If we had cheated in order to win like UNC-CHeat has been doing the last two decades, we would have won a lot more games, but I sure wouldn’t be proud of it or bragging about our high GPAs if they were obtained by cheating like UNC-CHeat. Cheaters can get by with it for a while, but you are now seeing a little of the consequences from your cheating. I only hope you get what you deserve, nothing more, nothing less.

        • NCStateLOL says:

          So what happens when UNC continues to field one of the best athletic programs in the country and dominate State across the board? I suppose you’ll claim that UNC has continued “cheating” far and above State and everyone else, right? Like I said, it’s not going to change. The beatings will continue.

  11. The Battering Ram says:

    If ncstatelol is this bastion of integrity and academic prowess that their fans claim it to be, then why don’t they set an example for everyone else by removing their 1974 and 1983 banners?

    Norm Sloan, a well known cheater, paid David Thompson’s parents several thousands of dollars and also had a new driveway laid down for the services of their son. This was one of the most egregious violations of amateurism in the history of college sports. As a result, ncstatelol should remove their banner and vacate their 1974 championship for playing athlete that should have never been allowed to play college sports in the first place. As an aside, how fitting is it that the greatest basketball player in ncstatelol history only went to ncstatelol because they cheated during his recruitment?

    How about that 1983 banner, too? In the late 1980s, ncstatelol was slapped with a Lack on Institutional Control by the NCAA. A number of these offenses of blatant cheating and gross negligence were detailed quite nicely in Peter Golenbock’s Pulitzer-caliber book and the Spangler Report. Fans of ncstatelol claim that players on UNC’s 1993, 2005, and 2009 teams took AFAM classes and, thus, should have their seasons vacated. Of course, there is not a shred of evidence to suggest this to be the case, but ncstatelol should be held to the same standard. If Jimmy V’s ncstatelol teams committed serious NCAA violations in the mid and late 1980s, it is probable (perhaps even likely) that similar activities were taking place during the 1983 season.

    Although ncstatelol has never been a national leader in anything, they have an opportunity here. They can take a stand for NCAA reform by preemptively taking down both their 1974 and 1983 banners, which were both obtained by cheating. Until then the stench of CHEATING emanating from West Raleigh will not go away.

  12. Re: Ms. Willigham’s earlier comment:

    • Which was: “How about the fact that the 2005 national basketball team starting 5 and one additional player (you guys call him the # 6 guy) took a combined 69 paper classes?
      The truth is in the transcripts. How about those numbers?”

      I haven’t seen those transcripts. There is a reason those are protected by federal law I suppose. Several observations:

      1. “Paper class” may or not be significant. Independent study is a legitimate option. Your own Masters Degree was obtained in a non-lecture class format.

      2.If these were suspect classes, they would have to be evaluated in the totality of the student’s academic record. I believe that people at the university who are keenly interested in this subject feel the basketball team members’ records hold up to investigation. I hope that is true, but we shall see, I suppose.

      3.Your research is a separate matter. Whatever classes these students did or not take does not excuse any mistakes you may have made in following research protocols or interpreting data. The ends does not justify the means. I will hasten to add that I am not qualified to judge your work, but a number of people who do work in research have commented harshly on what you have done. I would not be surprised to see the independent review find a number of problems, and that should not be dismissed simply because the university commissioned it.

  13. Daren Lucas says:

    From the HBO piece…..data copied from video.

    RV MC WM SATV SATQ CGPA hrs Status

    5—-5—-8—-300—-330—-2———-66 gone
    7—-8—-10-330—-410—-2.3——-125 grad
    7—-9—-6—-330—-440—-1.898—-93 AI
    9—-9—-9—-340—-460—-2.45——125 grad
    6—-8—-8—-350—-430—-1.333—-18 AP
    8—-9—-5———————-2———-155 grad

    Partial Analysis:

    • Appears Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults is the first 3 columns: Reading Vocab, Math Calc and Writing Mechanics are the portions. These 3 tests make up the Achievement Screeners Quotient which is designed to give a “quick” presentation of current levels and identify areas for further study. For instance, Reading Comprehension or Writing Composition. Appears no other follow up testing was done.
    • Reading Vocab and Reading Comprehension make up the Reading Quotient. Described as a “reliable measure of overall reading performance”. Each test lists a rationale: “any standardized test purporting to [provide] a comprehensive measure of reading that does not assess sentence or passage comprehension should be considered inadequate” (Widerholt and Bryant 1987). No such Quotient appears to be compiled so any sub-test conversion to a grade equivalent would be considered inadequate.
    • Appears to be SATA raw scores as those are the only ones that have a conversion to grade equivalents. Standard scores and percentiles (the suggested measures) do not provide grade equivalent conversions. SATA manual explains explicitly to use caution around grade equivalents and even suggests further reading from suggested book before doing it. Also, expounds on how the equivalents are “extrapolated” and can lead to “spurious” results.
    • She highlights 5′s and 6′s in RV…guessing that is her cohort with the supposed low reading level.
    • None highlighted in Math….curious?
    • 11 highlighted in Writing Mechanics
    • 14 subjects have RV shaded….14 of 183 is the roughly 8% in the CNN piece.
    • SAT verbal and Math scores included….appears ranked ascending by Verbal….lowest at top.
    • 45 SAT Verbal lines highlighted….assume cutoff was 400 Verbal since that was discussed in CNN piece. Can only see one page and there should be 4 total but if really ranked by this column then no others would be below 400 and only 25% would be below that threshold. Given that most students have higher Math than Verbal, it may be that 30 or so had SAT below 800.
    • Appears only 3 athletes in the 9 year period had an SAT below 700….which would have meant a 3.0 HS GPA to clear the NCAA clearinghouse. I expected many more and this is a sign that the exceptions allotted by the Faculty Sub-committee on admissions has done a good job of limiting at risk kids.
    • The subject with the lowest SAT (620) is NOT in her cohort….apparent disassociation between SAT and reading level….300 verbal vs. 9 RV….wonder her explanation.
    • No SAT writing….odd since English 100 admission is based on writing score below 460….curious omission. The UNC Learning Center touts its usage of the ACE READER programs. Ace has it own set of evaluation and testing tools so scores and charted progress there should also be included in the data. The Learning Center also offers free, non-credit Study Skills classes and you would assume that poor readers would be attending and receiving some score/result and that would be part of the data.
    • no date associated with SATA testing. Martin Report said testing was done in spring prior to arrival…MW said she administered as part of English 100….there should have been 3 tests in that case as there should have been a retest at the conclusion of English 100.
    • So why only one SATA inclusion and no date reference?
    • No comparative SATA data from regular students who took English 100….roughly 1400 total students would have been required to take English 100, so SAT, SATA, Ace Reader and Study Skills scores would theoretically have some correlation to these….but no comparison provided.
    • SATA has a section on “Sharing the results”
    o A thorough understanding of the purposes, content and construction of SATA is necessary prior to any presentation. Makes note that technical manual should be provided to those unfamiliar with the test.
    o Released scores should always be accompanied by a personal interpretation, possible alternative interpretations, reports of other tests or diagnostic workups, suggestions for instructional changes and recommendations for further testing. (the data should reflect these entries)
    o Every effort should be made to translate SATA language to layman.
    • 81% of English 100 students make A or B….stands to reason the RV scores would have risen substantially to warrant those grades. Reading grade is a portion of English 100 grading.
    • If the list is really ranked ascending by SAT verbal, one could surmise that the quality of student and associated scores and grades may get better on the other pages….if so, the worst of the worst only included 2 athletes with GPA below 2.0.

    • Daren, you are wrong. I saw it, trust me, yeah that is the ticket. Trust me over any stats. My data is only minimal now, not the story, yes that is the ticket. My tall tales and half truths are the story now.

      Daren, don’t come at me with facts and truth, not while I am on stage. You may make us look bad. Please don’t.

  14. Travis Everette says:

    As an alum of the University and the athletic department, I would welcome the opportunity to sit down at any time with either Mrs. Willingham or Professor Smith. I would be quite happy to explain exactly what the issues are with their crusade since Professor Smith seems to be oblivious as to them.

    Please feel free to contact me. I will make a point to travel to Chapel Hill and sit with either of you at any time.

    • I strongly suggest that Mary consider deleting her last tweet. That is either an outright lie, or a clear violation of FERPA. Any credibility she has remaining will be severely compromised until she retracts or clarifies that statement.

    • Travis, please let us know if either contact you.

  15. I understand where Mary’s coming from.
    Her champion Holden was sent off to St Louis and she was demoted. How dare they? UNC must pay. You go Mary. I feel your anger. Let’s fabricate and attack with over-dramatizations that serve no purpose other than to cast UNC in a bad light. Let’s insult the people that you were charged to assist.

    Care about the students? Maybe once a long time ago. But don’t anyone kid yourselves. This is all about Mary. Always has been.

  16. Luckily some of the solutions are very easy. If Jay and Mary are not about book sales then they should give any money generated from their book to charity. Also, they can start tutoring the local middle school students in Chapel Hill. After all, they are about helping under-prepared kids right? But no, I doubt we’ll ever see them do the right thing by helping others, only themselves.

  17. I have another question, why do Mary and Jay only respond to the posts that don’t ask them specific questions? Why does it seem like they both refuse to answer any questions about their research proposal, methodology, or intentions?

  18. What may have started as a laudable effort for NCAA educational reform has now devolved into a desperate effort to stay in media spotlight by maligning student athletes and illegally revealing their classes and grades; in other words trolling for attention.

    Mary Willingham’s latest tweet is outrageous! She reveals the classes taken by the athletes in the 2005 class and implies that these classes were all fake, and that the atheletes did not actually put in any effort towards the degree.

    Common decency suggests that these allegations be made in person to the athletes concerned rather than through an online forum through malicious innuendos. Needless to say, this is the main reason why active UNC faculty are not jumping to their cause. No one wants to support a cause if the means it employs are illegal, unethical and shady.

    But to the more serious matter of the latest Willingham tweet that clearly flouts all privacy concerns, I can only think of two reasons why she’s doing it: either she really wants to get fired and publish her book and set up her company, or she is seeking more attention now that her A- paper has been discredited.

    If Jay Smith is indeed a faculty at UNC, he will know that UNC takes IRB violations very seriously. Some years ago a very famous researcher was fired from the university for conducting research in a manner that was not approved by the IRB and then presenting his research. In that case, the offense was conducting the research and not violating the privacy of research participants.

    But here, it seems like Willingham and Smith really don’t care about the IRB or privacy laws and they seem to view these as pesky issues hindering the greater goal of their incorporated venture. Whatever it might be, this latest stunt of actually naming players and their classes is just shameful! Willingham and Smith should be ashamed of claiming themselves to be academics.

  19. ex tar heel fan says:

    I once was a tar heel fan. After the administration, coaches, professors and other heel fans blatantly denied, obscured, deflected and flat out lied about the cheating that has gone on for decades, I could not, in good faith, keep supporting the heels. I am done. I am not the only one for I know dozens of others that are done as well. The world knows that unc cheats. This façade that is put on is a farce. Time to own up to the blatant cheating, take down the banners and accept responsibility.

    • Ex tar heel fan = grew up rooting for UNC, applied and did not get in, had to go to ncstatelol.

      • ex tar heel fan says:

        Todd, you are prime example why I am not a fan of unc. You may want to read the papers of late, N.C. State has way more credibility than unc does. They don’t cheat like unc.

  20. Wow, exactly what was expected. Let’s see, if someone has a different view of your “facts” they are attacking you?
    You have danced around so many questions posed to you on this blog it’s comical. This latest blog entry sums it up that this will be nothing but a blog of people that agree with you, everyone else will be turned away or “moderated”. What a joke.

  21. MW: “How about the fact that the 2005 national basketball team’s starting 5 and one additional player (as you call him, #6 guy) took a combined 69 paper classes?
    The truth is in the transcripts. How about those numbers?”

    Mary, things like this weaken your argument. The majority of these classes were taken after these kids left early for the NBA and have been continuing their work towards their degrees via online classes, right? So yes, the truth is in the transcripts, you just choose to hide it, picking and choosing what you will use to support your flimsy argument. You are not good at this.

  22. ex tar heel fan says:

    I tell you what everyone is buying. 69 classes of the 05 team were paper classes. Let’s do the math. 6 players take 10 classes a year (5 per semester)+ a few summer classes = Of the six players, no one ever attended a class. Is this really a school you are proud of? Lets just go down to the local YMCA, slap a unc jersey on them and hand them a diploma. That’s basically what unc has been doing for 3 decades.

    • Travis Everette says:

      Except that isn’t even allowed under university guidelines and wouldn’t even make it through the registration processes.

      It could be that Mrs. Willingham misspoke (conveniently) and meant 69 HOURS, not classes, since 12 hours of independent study is the maximum allowed for any student.

      That stat also ignores that the vast majority of those IS classes were likely taken by those students AFTER they had already departed for the NBA and were pursuing their degrees while playing professional basketball.

      In short, the tweet is petty and disingenuous.

      • So the administration and athletic department can still sell the fact that players can breeze through no show course work AFTER they go pro. Well thats legit. Case closed. Story over. Move along.

  23. This whole comment section goes like this:
    UNC fan - “Prove it!”
    Response - “OK here are some statistics and quotes.”
    UNC fan - “Lies, fuzzy math, NC State cheats worse.”

    Just keep deflecting and ignoring and one day it will all be over. Probably not the way you’re hoping though.

  24. David Kraftchick says:

    Let’s be honest, Jay and Mary, about what this is really all about You have lost all credibility in your stated goal of trying to help student athletes. Taking a small fraction of cases, using faulty logic and statistics, and then portraying the entire NCAA system as academically corrupt is complete bunk.

    The real issue here is that tens of thousands of people will not pack stadiums to listen to the pomposity of a French History professor and faulty logic and research from a glorified tutor on a college campus. That is what is really eating away at you.

    And if a small percentage of athletes are so woefully prepared for college, but have access to basic classes, enlightening social experiences, and assistance along the way (should they decide to take advantage of it) how can they possibly be victimized?

    If this small percentage of athletes are not admitted, then fine. But that does not educate them. If they are admitted and take advantage to the best of their abilities, good for them. But in neither case is anyone taking advantage of them.

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