UNC had a long farewell for Dean Smith, a loving look back at the glory days of the UNC program.
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Mary Willingham came to prominence as a whistleblower.
Cheryl Thomas is not a whistleblower in that sense or with that impact, but she is another unhappy former employee who is willing to go on record with her concerns.
Thomas was the graduate school admissions director from 2002 to 2010 and she was not happy with being pressured to admit football player Michael Waddell.
She ended up resigning and has given the NCAA, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges and now the N&O documentation about her concerns.
There's a lot in here but ultimately it comes down to this: she did contact the NCAA, who apparently just forwarded her information back to the university. However, SACS is a different matter and has incredible power over any school it oversees. If it decides there is a pattern of malfeasance, what it can do makes the NCAA irrelevant: if you lose your accreditation, even briefly, everything else crashes and burns with it.
Secondly, if you can get to it, here's a WSJ review of the book Cheated by Willingham and UNC professor Jay Smith. The reviewer, Greg Easterbrook of The Atlantic, doesn't mince words:
- "They might as well be picking cotton."
- "The UNC swindle went into full swing in 2003..."
- "The second report attached no blame to basketball coach Williams...reporting his insistence that he 'constantly preaches that [the] number one responsibility [of] coaches and counselors is to make sure their players get a good education.' The men’s basketball program has seven coaches for a roster that averages 16—the kind of instructor-to-student ratio normally found only in doctoral programs. Yet we’re asked to believe there’s no way the coaches could have noticed that many players never seemed to need to be in class. Mr. Williams should have been fired for presiding over an institutionally corrupt program. Instead he was given a pass."