Cheated by Jay Smith and Mary Willingham


In 2010 allegations of an utterly corrupt academic system for student-athletes emerged at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, home of the legendary Tar Heels.

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Written by UNC professor of history Jay Smith and UNC athletics department whistleblower Mary Willingham, Cheated recounts the story of 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, they are promised in the first place: a college education.

Updated with a new epilogue, the paperback edition of Cheated carries the narrative through the defining events of 2017, including the landmark Wainstein report, the findings of which UNC leaders initially embraced only to push aside in an audacious strategy of denial with the NCAA, ultimately even escaping punishment for offering sham coursework. The ongoing fallout from this scandal—and the continuing spotlight on the failings of college athletics, which are hardly unique to UNC—has continued to inform the debate about how the $16 billion college sports industry operates and influences colleges and universities nationwide.

Cheated by Jay Smith and Mary Willingham