Auburn hires law firm to investigate exam charges

According to a story at ESPN.com, Auburn University has hired a law firm to investigate allegations that a part-time academic support staffer took a final exam for at least one football player from the 2016 team.

A source told Outside the Lines that a mentor in Auburn’s student-athlete support services department took an online final exam for at least one football player.

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.

The source said the player told the tutor he had not taken the exam.

After hearing that, the source said the tutor alerted the mentor’s supervisor. In August, the tutor who had reported the allegations was told her job wouldn’t be renewed, according to the source; the tutor then reported the issue to Auburn’s compliance director and the athletics department’s human resources office.

The Auburn athletic department confirmed that the law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White of Birmingham, Alabama, was hired on Aug. 31, but a statement from an athletic department spokesman on Wednesday called the allegations “false.”

“It’s simply not true,” the statement reads. “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.”

ESPN reporters have not disclosed any source’s identity to Auburn officials. In seeking comment about the allegations, reporters shared additional information with Auburn as new and more-detailed information became available to them.

The tutoring investigation is the latest in a series of probes within the Auburn athletics department, which is facing alleged misconduct in men’s basketball and women’s softball, as well as defending a federal civil lawsuit filed against athletics director Jay Jacobs and the school’s board of trustees by a former baseball coach.

You can read ESPN’s complete story here.