Auburn has hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into alleged academic misconduct within the football program. According to a report from ESPN‘s Outside the Lines, a part-time academic support staff member allegedly took an online final exam for at least one football player from the 2015 team (it was originally reported the player in question was on the 2016 team, but that has since been updated to reflect the updated story).
The alleged misconduct was brought to the attention of the Auburn athletics department last February by a tutor who was previously told her position would not be renewed for another year. The same tutor had been the one to discover an academic irregularity with one unnamed player she had worked with. The player informed her he had not taken an exam for a class she saw had been completed with a perfect score on the player’s academic records.
Auburn has issued a brief statement to refute the allegation of academic misconduct with the football team and academic support staff and accuses the tutor of fabricating the story.
“It’s simply not true,” the statement reads, according to ESPN. “The person making the accusation is a part-time employee placed on administrative leave on Aug. 31 because of a dispute with a coworker. She is making claims not supported by facts, and based on what ESPN told us, she keeps changing her story. Neither she, her attorney nor our investigation have produced anything to support her claims.”
It is unknown how many players may or may not be connected to this alleged academic irregularity at this time. It is also unknown if any players on the 2017 roster are connected to this allegation.
Regardless of the validity of the accusation, it is a serious allegation that must be dealt with appropriately for better or worse. It is not believed this academic allegation is connected to the ongoing scandal connected to Auburn’s men’s basketball program. Needless to say, however, a story like this is not making anything going on at Auburn any easier with the school reacting to the news of its basketball program being tied to the FBI’s investigation to illegal activities in college basketball. The same law firm handling the university’s response to the FBI investigation, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, will also handle the investigation into this alleged academic fraud with the football program.