Auburn investigating allegation of academic fraud
Auburn is investigating an allegation of academic fraud involving a part-time academic staff member and a football player.
The university hired Birmington, Ala., attorneys Lightfoot, Franklin & White to determine whether a mentor took an online final exam for at least one player in 2015, ESPN's Outside the Lines reported Wednesday.
The part-time employee was placed on administrative leave in August after the allegations surfaced.
An athletic department spokesman said in a statement that there was no academic fraud, calling the allegations "false."
"It's simply not true," the statement read. "The person making the accusation is a part-time employee placed on administrative leave on Aug. 31 because of a dispute with a co-worker. 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."
University president Steven Leath also issued a statement saying the independent investigators have failed to find evidence that indicates the allegations have credibility.
According to the university, the player in questions returned to school to finish his degree. He contends that the allegations are false.
Meanwhile, the mentor told Outside the Lines that she left the university in August after eight years to care for an ill family member and not because of the allegations.
The same Birmingham law firm also is investigating Auburn's softball and men's basketball programs for others issues.
Men's basketball assistant coach Chuck Person was one of 10 men arrested last month by FBI agents as part of a two-year investigation of alleged corruption and bribery in college basketball.
Person is accused of accepting $91,500 in bribes during a 10-month period to steer players toward financial advisers, shoe companies and agents.
Auburn indefinitely suspended Person without pay. After a court appearance in New York on Tuesday, he was released on $100,000 bond.
The former Auburn standout faces up to 80 years in prison if he is convicted.
The softball investigation involved allegations that former assistant coach Corey Myers behaved inappropriately with players. He resigned in March.