Three outside experts hired by the University of North Carolina say research data from a reading specialist doesn't support claims of low athlete literacy levels at the school.
The university hired Georgia State, Minnesota and Virginia professors to review Mary Willingham's findings. Willingham told CNN in January that her research of 183 football or basketball players from 2004-12 found 60 percent reading at fourth- to eighth-grade levels and roughly 10 percent below a third-grade level.
In a report released Friday, one expert estimated about 7 percent of athletes from Willingham's research read at fourth- to eighth-grade levels. The school says the data included scores for 176 athletes, including baseball and volleyball players.
Willingham has stood by her findings and said in a statement Friday she needed time before making "a full response."