When Mary Willingham, a researcher at the University of North Carolina reported that 10% of the school’s top athletes could only read at a third-grade level (or below), she was shocked by the backlash. While some in the campus community supported her, urging the administration to do more to help jocks learn, many more Tar Heels fans turned against her (to the point of death threats).

Rebecca Schuman, education columnist for Slate, wrote about Willingham’s research in a recent column, and offered a simple proposal to fix academics in the NCAA. I invited her onto my America Weekend show to discuss her proposal and the chances of universities with big sports programs giving their athletes the education they were promised in exchange for playing for free.

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