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Mary Willingham Sides With Players In O’Bannon Lawsuit V. NCAA

By Rachel Nash Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm

CHAPEL HILL – Mary Willingham, the UNC tutor who told CNN that the University admitted a basketball player who couldn’t read or write, among other accusations, has filed a declaration in the lawsuit against the NCAA over the rights of athletes to be compensated for use of their images, multiple news outlets report.

Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon first filed suit demanding that the NCAA give players a cut of its profits. The case could go to trial in June.

Willingham is currently employed at UNC as a clinical instructor and academic advisor. She told WCHL News last week that she received death wishes and hate email in the time since the CNN article was published last Tuesday. When contacted by WCHL, she said she didn’t want to comment further until the threats subsided.

Willingham spoke to CNN based on her encounters with Carolina athletes and is the source of the claims about the University.

Steve Farmer, Associate Provost and Director of Undergraduate Admissions, spoke with WCHL’s Rachel Nash last Wednesday to address the claims surrounding the admissions process at Carolina.

Farmer said he was not in the room when an alleged conversation between Willingham and an unidentified UNC player discussing his level of literacy occurred, so he cannot speculate about what was said.

Farmer did guarantee that UNC would not admit “students who [they] believe cannot read or write.”

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