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CNN Report Produces Death Threats

The latest disgrace from Chapel Hill

The pressure builds in Chapel Hill in more ways than one
The pressure builds in Chapel Hill in more ways than one
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We didn't get to the story CNN posted Tuesday about various schools, including UNC, offering scholarships to people who are barely literate.

Mary Willingham, who worked with athletes at UNC, gathered information for CNN and among other tidbits, says that one UNC basketball player simply couldn't read at all.

Here's a key paragraph: "As a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro, Willingham researched the reading levels of 183 UNC-Chapel Hill athletes who played football or basketball from 2004 to 2012. She found that 60% read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. Between 8% and 10% read below a third-grade level."

We didn't get that excited about the story because, frankly, it's nothing new. Coaches have been gaming the system for about a century, if not longer. There are ancient jokes about football players who were too stupid to understand that 2+2=4.

The exploitation of athletes is nothing new.

What is new, at least around here, are the death threats and hate mail Willingham has gotten, apparently from deranged UNC fans. So much of what's happened around this scandal over the last few years is disgusting and cynical, but even by the standards of this great, sprawling mess, death threats introduce an impressive new low.