Former Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson intervened in a sexual misconduct case involving two football players, as first reported by The Diamondback on Thursday.
According to the report, Anderson authorized the use of $15,000 in funds controlled by the athletic department for the players’ legal representation. While NCAA bylaws permit schools to pay for legal counsel in proceedings that may affect student-athletes’ participation in their sports, the organization passed a resolution in 2014 forbidding athletic departments to “manage, direct, control or interfere with college or university investigations into allegations of sexual violence.”
Two defensive backs were simultaneously suspended indefinitely by the team before the season opener; both left the university during the season. The report did not mention any players by name. The Washington Post reported that one of the players was expelled and the other was cleared of wrongdoing but still left the school.
A firm from Montgomery, Alabama, named The Sports Group began representing the players in June 2017, according to The Diamondback. Then-executive AD Damon Evans reportedly notified the administration of Anderson’s involvement, and the university president’s office directed Anderson to cut ties with the attorneys. The revelation that he had not done so prompted an internal investigation.
Donald Maurice Jackson, a lawyer with The Sports Group, told the Baltimore Sun on Friday he was hired by football coach DJ Durkin and had “very minimal contact” with Anderson. Jackson said the firm was already working with Maryland in the eligibility case for a men’s basketball player (reportedly Bruno Fernando), and had helped a football player retain eligibility after transferring in (reportedly JC Jackson). The lawyer also disputed how Thursday’s university statement portrayed Evans, saying it’s “virtually impossible to believe” Evans didn’t know he was representing the players.
The university announced Anderson was taking a six-month sabbatical in October; reports of his firing were disputed by university officials two days earlier, and multiple reports suggest he had been informed not to return to his office in September. Anderson said at the time that his sabbatical was the result of recent attention drawn to forums he held allowing Maryland student-athletes to speak their mind about any topic. He resigned April 13, almost six months to the day after his sabbatical was announced.
This story has been updated to include details reported by The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun.