Jan Kemp, 59, the University of Georgia professor who was fired after publicly criticizing the university for allowing athletes who failed remedial classes to continue playing sports and stay in school, has died. Kemp's lawsuit to get reinstated led to sweeping reforms at Georgia and helped lead to tougher academic standards for athletes nationwide.
Her son, Will Kemp, 26, said his mother was pronounced dead Thursday at an Athens, Ga., nursing home of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He described his mother as a person who wanted to cure injustice. "My mom didn't do it for the attention," he said about her battle against the university, where he is currently enrolled. "If she saw something unfair, she would always handle it."
Kemp was fired from the university in 1982. She sued in federal court the following year, claiming she was targeted because she protested Georgia's preferential treatment of athletes. The jury awarded her $2.57 million in 1986, though that was later reduced to $1.08 million. Kemp also was reinstated.
Before the Kemp case, athletes with SAT scores that reflected little academic prowess were routinely admitted to Georgia. Today, all NCAA schools must adhere to standards on test scores, grade-point averages and the type of courses taken in high school.