Cheated exposes the fraudulent inner workings of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 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. Cheated recounts the academic fraud in UNC' athletics department, even as university leaders focused on minimizing the damage in order to keep the billion-dollar college sports revenue machine function-ing. Willingham discusses what she believes will eventually dismantle the NCAA machine - that the "student-athletes" in these programs are being cheated out of what, after all, is promised them in a scholarship agreement/contract : a college education.
Mary Willingham is known by many as the whistleblower of the largest academic scandal in NCAA history. She is an author, educator, activist and human re-sources professional. Willingham has a BS in Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago, and an MA in Liberal Studies from UNC-Greensboro. Her research includes studies on the NCAA and university admission procedures with regards to profit athletes, and their specific gaps in basic skill deficits, as well as the incidence of LD/ADHD. She is a co-owner of Paper Class Inc., a company dedicated to raising awareness about the need for NCAA reform. In 2014, she was in Taylor Branch’s Documentary, “Schooled: The Price of College Sport”, Bob Edwards Documentary, “Dropping the Ball” and appeared on HBO Real Sports, ESPN Outside the Lines and CNN “Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th grad-ers “with Sara Ganim. She was also featured in Paul Barrett’s February cover story – “In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes—and Whistle-Blower” Bloomberg Business Week Magazine. She has recently co-authored commentary published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The News & Observer, and Inside Higher Education as well as a book on the UNC-CH scandal, “Cheated: The UNC Scandal, The Education of Athletes, And The Future of Big-Time College Sports”.