A day after the University of Maryland issued a statement indicating former athletic director Kevin Anderson hired an outside attorney to represent two former football players against an accusation of sexual assault by a female student, their attorney told the Baltimore Sun it was actually football coach DJ Durkin who hired him.
The attorney, Donald Maurice Jackson, told the newspaper he had "very minimal contact" with Anderson and the former AD "essentially fired" him via email just two weeks after taking on the case.
A university spokesman told The Washington Post on Thursday that the president's office became aware of Jackson's involvement only when it received an invoice for the work. The athletics department paid $15,000 to The Sports Group, with the money coming from Anderson's discretionary account. The account is funded by money donated by boosters, the Post reported.
Durkin has been on administrative leave since Aug. 11 as the university investigates the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and allegations of abuse and disparagement by Durkin.
The hiring of an outside attorney, a decision that was attributed to Anderson, showed "a serious lack of judgment in a sexual misconduct case, given the university's commitment to a fair and impartial handling of all such matters," the spokesman told the Post on Thursday.
The university's Office of General Counsel addressed the situation in a statement to the Sun on Friday.
"The lawyers continued to represent UMD football players (meeting their ethical obligations), perpetuating an unfair advantage for the accused over their accuser. Even after this inequitable situation was discovered and ordered to be stopped, it continued. This fact was not reported back to the university administration. If it had, other measures to remedy the inequity, such as providing an attorney for the other party, could have been taken."
Anderson, who took a six-month sabbatical in October, ended up resigning in April for reasons that haven't been made public.
The allegations of sexual misconduct by the players precede recent events that have left Maryland's football program reeling.
In May, McNair collapsed during a practice session and died two weeks later. Maryland president Wallace Loh apologized to the McNair family and acknowledged that mistakes were made in his treatment during a May 29 workout, and Damon Evans, who succeeded Anderson as AD, said McNair "did not receive appropriate medical care" and the "emergency response plan was not followed."
Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned, and two members of the football staff remain on administrative leave.