Auburn hires law firm to investigate academic misconduct allegations

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 2017

An athletic department spokesperson called the allegation of impropriety "false" in the university's official response.

However, in a statement to the Montgomery Advertiser, Auburn says the student in question was not a member of the team at the time of the alleged incident, but was a former player who had come back to finish his degree.

The school confirmed to Outside the Lines Wednesday that it has hired a Birmingham-based law firm to investigate if a part-time academic employee took an exam for "at least one football player from the 2016 team".

The allegation made in the ESPN story is false based on our review to date.

ESPN's report does not identify any sources involved in the academic fraud allegation involving a tutor and at least one Auburn football player.

Per the report, the academic fraud is alleged to be surrounding a final exam for a member of the Auburn football team.

Another tutor who was reviewing the student athlete's academic records noticed the player had a flawless grade on the final exam even when the player had told the tutor that he had not taken the exam, ESPN's source said. "The person making the accusation is a part-time employee placed on administrative leave on August 31 because of a dispute with a co-worker".

The law firm was hired the same day the tutor reportedly received written notification of being placed on administrative leave.

Whether or not this allegation is rooted in facts or not, something this serious will likely be strongly investigated. "While the independent investigation has found no evidence to date to support the claims, I'm actively engaged as the investigation continues".

"It's simply not true", the statement reads, according to ESPN.

"I take the allegation very seriously", President Steven Leath said.

The tutoring investigation is the latest in a series of probes within the athletic department, which have so far touched the Men's Basketball and Women's Softball teams as well.

Since October 2009, Auburn has paid Lightfoot, Franklin & White more than $2.3 million - mostly in legal expenses related to the athletics department, according to University public records. In August, a former softball player filed a Title IX complaint alleging abusive treatment and sexual harassment from the coaching staff, as well as an attempted cover-up by the university. Person has been suspended indefinitely. After a court appearance in NY on Tuesday, he was released on $100,000 bond.

AL.com will update this post.

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