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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.
"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.