About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest news and analysis on the crisis in Ukraine.

The latest news and analysis on the crisis in Ukraine.

sports lead

February 18th, 2014
06:02 PM ET

Northwestern football players take union hopes to labor board hearing

Chicago (CNN) – Kain Colter actually got this idea sitting in a college classroom at Northwestern University.

The 21-year-old quarterback, soon to graduate with a degree in psychology, is taking the day off from training for the NFL draft to take the stand at a National Labor Relations Board hearing today and testify against his own university and on behalf of fellow football players.

The goal: an attempt to revolutionize the way collegiate athletes are treated.

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sports lead

January 17th, 2014
06:53 PM ET

UNC investigating claims over athletes' reading ability

(CNN) – The University of North Carolina has launched its own investigation into claims highlighted by CNN that too many of its student-athletes read poorly.

Chancellor Carol Folt posted an open letter to campus, saying: "I take these claims very seriously, but we have been unable to reconcile these claims with either our own facts or with those data currently being cited as the source for the claims. Moreover, the data presented in the media do not match up with those data gathered by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions."

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sports lead

January 10th, 2014
07:20 PM ET

Death threats and denial for woman who showed college athletes struggle to read

(CNN) – The death threats, Mary Willingham expected.

More shocking is that the University of North Carolina is now disavowing her research as a whistle-blower – research that showed between 8% and 10% of the school's football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.

UNC issued a statement Wednesday night saying it did not believe Willingham's account of a basketball player who could not read or write.

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sports lead

January 7th, 2014
03:29 PM ET

CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders

Watch former basketball star Isiah Thomas responds to the investigation and discusses the state of black male college athletes on The Lead with Jake Tapper today at 4 p.m. ET.  

(CNN) - Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork.

He couldn't read or write.

CNN interactive: Data and responses from universities

"And I kind of panicked, What do you do with that?" she said, recalling the meeting.

Willingham's job was to help athletes who weren't quite ready academically for the work required in the classrooms at UNC. But she was shocked that one couldn't read - until she realized it was not an anomaly.

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buried lead

August 2nd, 2013
06:06 PM ET

Fake Cubans hoping for fast track to citizenship now under scrutiny

Miami (CNN) – All Luis had to do was hand a Cuban birth certificate to immigration officials and he was on his way to becoming a U.S. citizen.

"I started to receive my work permission, I went to the DMV, got my driver's license, I get my Social Security and that was it," he said.

Those are the privileges afforded to Cubans who flee the Castro regime and make it to the United States to seek asylum.

But Luis, who asked CNN not to use his real name, was not entitled to the privileges. He's Venezuelan, not Cuban. The forged birth certificate he said he bought for $10,000 was enough to pass initial scrutiny and he was able to live free and clear in the United States for years.

Luis is not alone. Pretending to be Cuban has become a trend in visa fraud, according to Alysa Erichs, special agent in charge of theU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations office in Miami.

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