According to an ESPN report Wednesday, the school hired the firm to look into allegations that a part-time academic support staff member took a final exam for at least one football player from last season's team.
In the article on ESPN.com, it says a source told Outside the Lines that a mentor in the student-athlete support department took an online final exam for at least one football player.
For the third time since August, Auburn has retained the services of Birmingham-based law firm Lightfoot, Franklin and White to conduct an investigation regarding the school's athletic programs.
"I take the allegation very seriously", Auburn University president Steven Leath said in a statement released to the Opelika-Auburn News.
The University earlier this fall chose the same firm to conduct an internal investigation into the women's softball program after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced and to conduct a probe into the basketball program after associate head coach Chuck Person was charged by federal prosecutors with bribery.
Auburn said the part-time staffer who reported the allegation was placed on administrative leave in August.
Taylor Twellman Went On A Second Epic Rant On ESPN
He said it was not the fault of Jurgen Klinsmann, head coach from 2011 through 2016, or Bruce Arena who took over from him. Tuesday night's loss to Trinidad and Tobago marked one of the darkest days in US soccer history.
An athletic department spokesperson called the allegation of impropriety "false" in the university's official response.
That source reportedly said a tutor became aware of the alleged misconduct when they noticed a football player had a flawless grade on a final exam for an online course taken only a few weeks into the class. "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". She has also signed compliance forms indicating no knowledge of wrongdoing.
The report did not name the student, the tutor or the mentor allegedly involved. After hearing that, the tutor alerted the mentor's supervisor, the source said.
The tutor who reported the allegations to Auburn was told that her job would not be renewed, per the report.
An attorney for the tutor told ESPN that his client was placed on administrative leave while the inquiry took place. Additionally, the men's basketball program is being investigated after assistant coach Chuck Person was arrested into the highly-publicized FBI investigation into college basketball.
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