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Whistleblower won’t testify before Senate in NCAA hearing

Mary Willingham from the University of North Carolina won’t appear as a witness in the upcoming committee hearings on the welfare of college athletes

Once you have blown the whistle on inappropriate behavior, life can get pretty complicated. Not everyone is forced to flee the country like Edward Snowden, nor do all whistleblowers receive enormous awards for their information. Some merely get the ball rolling and, sometimes, those whistleblowers are less involved in the events they set into motion. 

Such is the case for Mary Willingham, the former academic adviser at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC). She famously blew the whistle on the status of student athletes at her school, noting that some of the Tarheels were reading at a fourth grade level. More specifically, she revealed that 60 percent of the 180 athletes she helped academically read at a fourth- to eighth- grade level and 10 percent of the athletes were functionally illiterate.

Her whistleblowing activities had a ripple effect, both for Willingham and for the National Collegiate Athlete Association (NCAA). Willingham herself has stepped down from her position at UNC as a result of the scandal that followed her revelations. Her actions have brought certain issues to light, and the federal government has decided to take a closer look .

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a series of hearings on the welfare of NCAA athletes. On May 8, there was buzz that Willingham would be among the witnesses called before the committee, but ultimately, her name was not on the list, which includes many former athletes.   


For more news on whistleblowers, check out the following:


Can in-house counsel be trusted?

Illinois construction giant settles $12 million whistleblower lawsuit

SCOTUS extends Sarbanes-Oxley's whistleblower protection to employees at private companies

Supreme Court revisits First Amendment protection for public workers


Senior Editor and Community Manager

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor and Community Manager of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A....

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