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Cheated, Cheated, 1612347282, 1-61234-728-2, 978-1-61234-728-8, 9781612347288, Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham   , , Cheated, 1612347479, 1-61234-747-9, 978-1-61234-747-9, 9781612347479, Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham   , , Cheated, 1612347487, 1-61234-748-7, 978-1-61234-748-6, 9781612347486, Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham   , , Cheated, 1612347495, 1-61234-749-5, 978-1-61234-749-3, 9781612347493, Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham  

The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports
Jay M. Smith and Mary Willingham

2015. 304 pp.
$26.95 t

In 2010 allegations of an utterly corrupt academic system for student-athletes emerged from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, home of the legendary Tar Heels. As the alma mater of Michael Jordan, Larry Brown, Marion Jones, Lawrence Taylor, Rashad McCants, and many others; winner of forty national championships in six different sports; and a partner in one of the best rivalries in sports, UNC–Chapel Hill is a world-famous colossus of college athletics. In the wake of the Wainstein report, however, the fallout from this scandal—and the continuing spotlight on the failings of college athletics—has made the school ground zero in the debate about how the $16 billion college sports industry operates.
Written by UNC professor of history Jay Smith and UNC athletics department whistleblower Mary Willingham, Cheated exposes the fraudulent inner workings of this famous university. For decades these internal systems have allowed woefully underprepared basketball and football players to take fake courses and earn devalued degrees from one of the nation’s top universities while faculty and administrators looked the other way. In unbiased and carefully sourced detail, Cheated recounts the academic fraud in UNC’s athletics department, even as university leaders focused on minimizing the damage in order to keep the billion-dollar college sports revenue machine functioning. Smith and Willingham make an impassioned argument that the “student-athletes” in these programs are being cheated out of what, after all, is promised them in the first place: a college education. 

Jay M. Smith is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has served in a variety of administrative capacities involving the management of undergraduate education.

Mary Willingham worked in the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling at UNC–Chapel Hill until 2014. Both she (in 2013) and Smith (in 2014) received the Robert Maynard Hutchins Award from the Drake Group for integrity in the face of college sport corruption, making UNC the only institution with two Hutchins award winners. Willingham is the founder of Paper Class, Inc. (, an organization dedicated to fighting on behalf of student-athletes for a fair and proper education.


"Cheated sounds an important call for reform."—Gregg Easterbrook, Wall Street Journal

"Those who care about the soul—and economics—of the $16 billion-a-year college sports industry should clear their reading calendar for Cheated."—Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Business

"[Cheated] offers a stinging critique of UNC-Chapel Hill’s handling of the academic and athletic wrongdoing that kept student athletes eligible to compete and persisted for nearly two decades."—Jane Stancill, News & Observer

"All readers interested in education, public affairs, and college athletics will find this book essential."—John Maxymuk, Library Journal

"This should be required reading for everyone."—A. R. Sanderson, CHOICE

"This excellent book is a canary in the coalmine for those who love athletics at the collegiate level."—Jorge Iber, Sport in American History

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