TitanTiger

Auburn puts two basketball support staffers on administrative leave

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5 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

This might deserve its own thread, but I thought I'd bury it in here.

https://auburn.247sports.com/Article/Lawyer-Auburn-basketball-staffer-Frankie-Sullivan-was-not-told-why-he-was-placed-on-administrative-leave-110860693

Anybody see the free article on AUC?  IMHO it is somewhat damning to the Auburn athletic department and thus the University as a whole.

Text of article below:

AUBURN, Alabama — Frankie Sullivan wasn’t in his usually spot when Auburn practiced Tuesday at Auburn Arena. Sullivan usually posts himself under one of the baskets for the best view of the players and watches the action unfold with a smile.

Instead of fulfilling his role as the program’s video coordinator, Sullivan is sitting at home wondering what he did to be banished from the team. He and special assistant Jordan VerHulst were placed on indefinite administrative leave last week by the university.

“Frankie loves Auburn University,” Sullivan’s lawyer Ted Mann said. “He put his blood, sweat and tears for four or five years down there. He has an incredible fondness for the university. All of this is extremely painful for him.”

Sullivan retained the Birmingham-based lawyer when the university advised staffers and players that they had the right to retain counsel as Auburn initiated an independent investigation into the Chuck Person scandal. Person was arrested on Sept. 26 on federal bribery and corruption charges and has since been indicted by a grand jury in New York on six charges. Meanwhile, players Danjel Purifoy and Austin Wiley have been held out of games to avoid potential eligibility issues. Both players' families allegedly received money funneled by Person during an undercover FBI investigation.

Mann has guided Sullivan through the process and sat alongside the former Auburn player and team captain as three lawyers from Lightfoot, Franklin & White interviewed him in mid-October.

“He provided everything he knew to the Lightfoot, Franklin lawyers,” Mann said.

Mann wouldn’t discuss specifics of the session with the law firm, but nothing in that interview led the lawyer to believe his client was facing any disciplinary issues. They didn’t hear anything else about the investigation until Nov. 11 when Sullivan was placed on leave with pay.

Auburn basketball practiced that morning before the football team played Georgia, but as Sullivan arrived for work he was greeted by coach Bruce Pearl. Pearl informed Sullivan he was being placed on “indefinite leave,” a move that left Sullivan stunned.

Two days later another bombshell was dropped on Sullivan in the form of an ESPN report linking the former Auburn player’s action to a pending federal case against Person.

“Sources indicated to ESPN that VerHulst and Sullivan's actions were related to the same type of issues that the FBI uncovered in its investigation of former Tigers associate head coach Chuck Person, who was arrested Sept. 26,” Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach reported.

“He’s on the threshold of his career so to speak. He’s having to deal with this huge bombshell of news regarding Chuck Person and now he’s been wrongly implicated, wrongly attached to what Chuck was alleged to have been doing,” Mann said. “You can imagine how he’s feeling right now.”

The ESPN report came on the same day Sullivan received an official letter from Auburn University placing him on leave.

“The only justification was the ongoing investigation,” Mann said. “As I read the NCAA rules, as I read Auburn University staff athletic department rules and the Auburn University employee handbook, I think it’s highly unusual even in the process of an ongoing investigation once action is taken as I read these various rules that apply to his employment I believe he’s entitled a list of whatever charge Auburn is using for justification for his suspension.”

In the last two weeks, Mann has sent repeated requests for a list of the rules violations or university policy violations Auburn contends supports the suspension.

“As I’m looking at my emails right now, I still do not have a reply from Auburn University through Lightfoot, Franklin or the athletic department for why they have suspended Frankie,” Mann said.

While Mann is a personal injury lawyer, many of the cases he’s handled during his 32 years practicing law are in various employment settings. He described Auburn’s actions in this case as highly unusual given the grievance process requires the employee to respond to the university’s claims within 45 days of the disciplinary action.

Mann can’t file a grievance without knowing the reasons for the suspension.

“I’ve never seen an employer refuse to provide an explanation as to why they took an action to either suspend or terminate an employee,” Mann said. “Usually they have to do that in order to justify whatever action they are taking.”

Auburn declined to discuss why the university is withholding that information.

“As you know, two members of the men's basketball support staff were suspended with pay by the Auburn athletics department,” a university spokesperson said. “Both were informed that Auburn uncovered potential violations of university policy. As the investigation unfolds, they will have the opportunity to respond. No action will be taken until after that time.”

Mann has also acted on his client’s behalf to forcefully deny the allegations ESPN made that Sullivan’s actions “are related to the same type of issues” as Person was arrested for in September.

“We have written a letter to ESPN, to the two reporters that story was attributed to and we have demanded a retraction be run in a similar fashion that the story was published to remove any implication directly or indirectly that Frankie Sullivan was somehow involved in the same conduct as Chuck Person, which is false, absolutely false,” Mann said.

All Sullivan can do now is wait. 

“Our concern for Frankie is really pretty simple,” Mann said. “He’s a young guy, he wants to be a coach. He doesn’t want this to adversely stain his career. We think it’s only fair in our system of justice so to speak that he be apprised of whatever it is they claim that justified his suspension. We are still waiting. We have no reply.”

Was just coming to quote this.

Quote

"While Mann is a personal injury lawyer, many of the cases he’s handled during his 32 years practicing law are in various employment settings. He described Auburn’s actions in this case as highly unusual given the grievance process requires the employee to respond to the university’s claims within 45 days of the disciplinary action.

Mann can’t file a grievance without knowing the reasons for the suspension.

“I’ve never seen an employer refuse to provide an explanation as to why they took an action to either suspend or terminate an employee,” Mann said. “Usually they have to do that in order to justify whatever action they are taking.” 

Auburn declined to discuss why the university is withholding that information.

That looks terrible for AU.

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so ... supposedly auburn is pissed at CBP for not talking to them, but they wont tell frankie why they are screwing his career?  brilliant.  This is starting to appear more and more like someone has an agenda against CBP and they are trying to get him out.  Whether by violations, quitting, etc... 

Unless the University will say or do something, then this seems to be a logical conclusion.  Obviously there could be other things at play here, but it appears the University is its own worst enemy regardless of any failures by coaches.

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Unbelievable.  How the hell the president allowed this to turn into a clusterfudge I'll never know. The bar was set so low with what he inherited and he's supposed to help put out these fires not spread them

Edited by Tiger
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This will go very poorly for those who made the decision to suspend Frankie if there proves to be no connection to Person's crap. The AU family does not take well to going after one of our own for no reason. School administration is looking very poor over the last few months. And it looks to be getting worse with this junk. We have enough real scandals we don't need to add to them by suspending the people who do care about AU without solid proof of wrongdoing. 

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Lord, have Mercy on Auburn.  These people running this University are a bunch of clueless, power hungry, ego driven individuals that can’t get out of their own way for the good of our beloved school.:sad2:

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4 minutes ago, gravejd said:

This will go very poorly for those who made the decision to suspend Frankie if there proves to be no connection to Person's crap. The AU family does not take well to going after one of our own for no reason. School administration is looking very poor over the last few months. And it looks to be getting worse with this junk. We have enough real scandals we don't need to add to them by suspending the people who do care about AU without solid proof of wrongdoing. 

There has to be some proof of questionable actions that spurred the suspensions of two coaches.  Surely to goodness President Leath didn’t just go off half cocked, did he?

And can someone please tell me who the hell chose to suspend two of our players for this long?  The NCAA?  AU Complaince Director our of caution?  

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4 hours ago, Tiger said:

Unbelievable.  How the hell the president allowed this to turn into a clusterfudge I'll never know. The bar was set so low with what he inherited and he's supposed to help put out these fires not spread them

Who is to say that the Prez isn’t behind this.  I have a strange feeling he just wants to clean up the AD and if there is any doubt he’s kicking ‘em to the curb.  

I would hate to lose coach Pearl but getting a grasp on the AD seems to be a higher priority with all the mess that’s boiling around.  

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16 minutes ago, corchjay said:

Who is to say that the Prez isn’t behind this.  I have a strange feeling he just wants to clean up the AD and if there is any doubt he’s kicking ‘em to the curb.  

I would hate to lose coach Pearl but getting a grasp on the AD seems to be a higher priority with all the mess that’s boiling around.  

Leath dang sure came in and immediately hired Lightfoot, Franklin, White to investigate the AD.  

With the Golloway lawsuit, the softball Title XI and sex schandle, FBI Persons indictment, Track coach racial discrimination and physical altercation case.....Now we have an AD on the way out the door, 1 BB coach under indictment and 2 more on suspension, with 2 of our top players suspended indefinitely.  And the head BB coach hasn’t been as forthcoming as the Prez expects.

I’m not ready to judge Leath too harshly at this point, the man has had a lot on his plate.

 

 

Now

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10 hours ago, keesler said:

There has to be some proof of questionable actions that spurred the suspensions of two coaches.  Surely to goodness President Leath didn’t just go off half cocked, did he?

And can someone please tell me who the hell chose to suspend two of our players for this long?  The NCAA?  AU Complaince Director our of caution?  

I have no idea why they suspended Frankie since they aren't saying. I really hope they have something to go on cause otherwise this looks like payback for Bruce not cooperating with their investigation to their liking. And if that is the game they are playing then they need to get the f%$# out of AU. Frankie gave a lot to this school and i don't appreciate people going after our boys. 

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2 hours ago, gravejd said:

I have no idea why they suspended Frankie since they aren't saying. I really hope they have something to go on cause otherwise this looks like payback for Bruce not cooperating with their investigation to their liking. And if that is the game they are playing then they need to get the f%$# out of AU. Frankie gave a lot to this school and i don't appreciate people going after our boys. 

I would bet money that the FBI is behind all of it... the suspending and the tight lips. That's what happens when the government gets involved. Everything goes crazy and everyone is told that they can't say anything or they will be prosecuted. Usually it happens at companies, so there isn't media coverage following every move. This time it's all out in broad daylight, so the craziness is on display.

Auburn is stuck between a rock and a hard place, because they can't talk about what they are told by the FBI, but at the same time, if they don't act on certain intel during the season, then the NCAA can come back and hammer them after it all comes out.

Edited by lionheartkc
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