9 1 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Three outside experts hired by UNC say research data from a reading specialist doesn't support claims of low athlete literacy levels at North Carolina.

The school hired professors from Georgia State, Minnesota and Virginia to review Mary Willingham's findings. That came after a CNN story in January in which Willingham said her research of 183 football or men's basketball players from 2004-12 found 60 percent reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and roughly 10 percent reading below a third-grade level. One of the three experts estimated the number reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels at closer to 7 percent in a report released Friday.

Report: 148-word Paper Earned UNC Athlete an A-minus

UNC had called Willingham's findings flawed. She stood by them in January and said in a statement Friday she needed time to review the report before "a full response."

READ: UNC Full Report

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read or Share this story: http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/local/2014/04/11/unc-athlete-literacy-review/7610933/