The UNC academic scandal was first brought to light by one of Whistleblower Insider’s nominees for Whistleblower of the Year, Mary Willingham, and was confirmed in the UNC-commissioned Wainstein report released last October. The report found that, during an 18 year period, more than 3,100 students enrolled in sham classes and nearly half of those students were student athletes, many of whom were from the “revenue sports” of football or men’s basketball. Now, two former UNC student athletes filed a 100 page class action lawsuit last week against the school and the NCAA for providing them and other student athletes an inferior education.
In the lawsuit, UNC’s former women’s basketball player Rashanda McCants and football player Devon Ramsay claim a “shadow curriculum” at UNC steered students “toward programs and courses that lacked rigor so as to free up as much time as possible for athletic commitments while ensuring continued academic eligibility under NCAA rules.” They also contend the NCAA breached various legal duties by failing “to protect the education and educational opportunities of student-athletes.”
Mr. Ramsay highlighted the importance of education in a public statement yesterday, saying “on average, less than 2% of these athletes will play at the professional level; therefore, it is paramount that these athletes receive legitimate classes that are worthy of their university.” Ms. McCants added, “although we all love our school, we also love ourselves and the dignity we built within our own right…but the university and the NCAA failed to keep their promise to me and other college athletes, and in turn we seek justice.”
The plaintiffs will seek to certify a class to represent other former UNC student athletes who were enrolled in non-existent classes. The class could include current and former athletes at all Division I institutions who have been denied a meaningful education, potentially adding up to hundreds of thousands of athletes suing more than 350 universities and conferences across the country. As Mr. Ramsay noted, “these aren’t just isolated incidents that occurred at UNC…this is a national problem, one that continually surfaces at some of the most prestigious programs in the country.”
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