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"This was not an athletic scandal," former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin told UNC's board of trustees. "It was an academic scandal, which is worse."
“Many athletes told me what they would like to study,” she said. “And listen to what we did. Instead, we directed them to an array of mismatched classes that have a very, very long history of probable (athletic) eligibility. And sadly, it’s still happening."
Willingham, who worked as a learning and reading specialist inside UNC’s academic support program for athletes, talked Thursday about her struggle to combat the system. She spoke of NCAA paperwork that arrived annually that required a signature and promise that she hadn’t seen cheating, or been a part of it.
“I’ve got to tell you that most of the time, I scribbled my initials on it,” Willingham said. “So yeah, I lied. I saw it – I saw cheating. I saw it, I knew about it, I was an accomplice to it, I witnessed it. And I was afraid, and silent, for so long.”