Can you read this essay?

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By Gary Welton

If you are still following along, then you can answer in the affirmative. According to a recent CNN article, however, a surprising number of the college athletes we watch playing basketball or football can only answer in the negative (“Some college athletes play like adults, read like fifth-graders”). At one university however, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the evidence appears to be even more daunting, where a graduate student researcher reported (in a controversial research project that has been recently suspended by the university) that “between 8 and 10 percent were reading below a third-grade level.”
Of the 38 public institutions CNN attempted to survey, 18 provided no data. Some of these claimed that they do not track the aptitude scores of their athletes. (Really?) Others refused the request. Yet others failed to respond. Of the 20 who responded, 13 provided data in a standardized format that enabled the researchers to compare the results. In the worst case, one university reported that 25 percent of its athletes participating in revenue-generating sports were reading at a level below that of “college literacy.” 

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