ESPN reported Wednesday that Auburn University has retained a law firm to look into whether or not a part-time staffer took an exam for a football player last year.
What allegedly happened here beyond the headline?
Per the report, the academic fraud is alleged to be surrounding a final exam for a member of the Auburn football 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. The source said a tutor who worked with the mentor became aware of the alleged misconduct while reviewing a football player's academic records in February, 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.
Per ESPN, the tutor who reported the allegation did not have her job renewed.
Why does this matter?
Well, despite what you may think about the nature of the term “student-athlete” and whether or not athletes attend universities for the education, it’s definitely Auburn’s responsibility to look into things like this. The fact that the school is lawyering up is proof they’re taking things seriously.
The athletic department called the allegation false, but it is one in a series of probes currently going on at Auburn.
Below is the full statement from Auburn athletics and the @MGMAdvertiser report on the academic fraud claim here - https://t.co/VeaJp9SkMI pic.twitter.com/g3nBvoCBmf— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) October 11, 2017
One of them is the Federal investigation into bribery that has swept up multiple college basketball coaches including now assistant and Tigers alum Chuck Person. Person has been suspended indefinitely.
What happens from here?
It will only turn the heat up on athletic director Jay Jacobs, for one. Jacobs has been embattled at various times in the last few years, and this can’t be good for him. Beyond that, it’s an ongoing investigation and will likely take the same sluggish pace these things often do.