Willingham will not be witness at senate hearings on athlete welfare

North Carolina whistleblower Mary Willingham told CBSSports.com Saturday she will not be a witness at next week’s senate committee hearings on the welfare of NCAA athletes.

Willingham said she was notified Friday by a person from U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Committee chair Jay Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) had called the hearings for Wednesday.

“They basically explained they organize a lineup and they decide who’s going to go,” Willingham said.

Willingham originally had been on a roster of witnesses that included former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon and Houston Texans running back Arian Foster.  

On Thursday, a commerce committee spokesman said the lineup of witnesses had not been finalized. Willingham said she would go to the Washington, D.C., hearings anyway as an observer.

“It’s important to me,” she said.

Willingham recently resigned at the University of North Carolina citing a hostile work environment. The former athletic academic advisor at the school has alleged she was dealing with athletes who were reading at barely literate levels.

A call to a commerce committee spokesman seeking comment was not immediately returned. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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