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Auburn Football Statement Denies Academic Fraud Allegations

Auburn took out Ole Miss in convincing fashion last weekend to build a 5-1 record. The Tiger’s only defeat came at the hands of Clemson in the second weekend of play. Now, with a winning season underway the team, and university, may have to deal with a diversion.

ESPN thrust the football program into the limelight when it published a story highlighting a team mentor possibly taking a test for a football player. The report stated that a tutor that worked with the mentor noticed possible misconduct while doing a review.

“A mentor in Auburn’s Student-Athlete Support Services department took a final exam for at least one player,” the original report stated. “A tutor who worked with the mentor became aware of the alleged misconduct while reviewing a football player’s academic records in February, the source said, noticing that the player had received a perfect grade on a final exam only a few weeks into the course.” According to the report, the player said he had not taken the final exam.”

Some confusion was added to the mix when ESPN edited the story changing the year the alleged action took place. The original dates cited by ESPN placed the events in question to a player on the 2016 team. The date was then modified to a 2015 player.

Also Read: Auburn investigating allegation of academic fraud

Auburn Releases Statement

Auburn University Athletics released a statement on Wednesday taking aim at the report. The statement from the university notes that the source for the story by ESPN was on administrative leave at the time and that nothing the source said were “supported by facts.”

Auburn also noted the university did an investigation and that nothing was found to support the claims. The player at question, tutor and mentor were not named in the report or the university. The complete statement released on Wednesday reads as follows.


“The player for which we are conducting an investigation is not a member of the current team and was not a member of the team at the time of the allegation. He is a former player who came back to school to complete his degree. As you know from our statement he categorically denies the claim.

The allegation made in the ESPN story is false based on our review to date. The person making the accusation was a part-time employee placed on administrative leave in late August. She is making claims not supported by facts, and based on what ESPN told us this morning, before the story came out, she keeps changing her story. Neither she, her attorney, nor our investigation have produced anything to support her claims. Neither has ESPN.

It should also be noted that the accuser has signed thirty-eight bi-monthly time sheets during her part-time employment stating that she has no knowledge or has not witnessed or assisted a student-athlete in participating in academic dishonesty. She has also signed compliance forms indicating no knowledge of wrongdoing.

We have no reason to think the allegation about the former student is true.”


Auburn Confirms Hiring Law Firm

Auburn confirmed that the University had hired an outside firm to handle the investigation. According to several reports, the same law firm that was hired for at least two other investigations involving AU sports.

One investigation followed the national FBI probe into bribery in college basketball. Associate head coach Chuck Person was charged by federal prosecutors with bribery in association with the FBI probe along with several other assistant coaches and two employees of Adidas. The firm also researched allegations of sexual misconduct associated with the women’s softball team.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kent Whitaker, often called 'the Deck Chef,' is a sportswriter, culinary writer, and cookbook author with fourteen titles. He covers NASCAR, racing in general, Football, barbecue, grilling, and tailgating. Look for him, and his “Deck Chef” approved recipes, online!

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