Attorney Donald Jackson claimed that DJ Durkin hired him for two football players' sexual assault case and not ex-Maryland AD Kevin Anderson.

By Jenna West
August 23, 2018

The attorney who previously handled two Maryland football players' sexual assualt case said Friday that head coach DJ Durkin hired him, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Donald Jackson, a lawyer from The Sports Group, told the Sun that he received $15,000 from the football team. His claim comes one day after Maryland said in a statement that former athletic director Kevin Anderson hired an attorney for the case.

The Diamondback, Maryland's student newspaper, reported Thursday that Anderson used $15,000 of the athletic department's funds to provide the players with legal representation after being accused of sexual misconduct. The report comes in the midst of the football program already being under scrutiny following the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and allegations that it has a "toxic" culture.

However, The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Durkin was the first person to reach out to the firm under Anderson's direction.

Jackson told the Sun that his involvement with the football players' case came partially out of working on an eligibility case for a basketball player. The attorney said that he knew Durkin and his staff after helping a football player regain his eligibility the year before after transferring.

While NCAA bylaws allow schools to pay for legal counsel in a proceeding that may affect a student-athlete's ability to play sports, the university said in the statement Thursday that Anderson's actions "showed a serious lack of judgement in a sexual misconduct case, given the university's commitment to a fair and impartial handling of all such matters."

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The university also said Thursday that it first learned of Anderson's use of the funds when the department received an invoice from the lawyer.

"The President's Office, the Office of General Counsel, the Athletic Compliance Office and the then-Executive Athletic Director [Damon Evans] were not involved in or consulted on the original decision made to hire and pay the lawyer," the statement read. "Protocols requiring General Counsel to retain outside counsel had not been followed in the hiring.

"In response, the President’s Office immediately directed the then-Athletic Director to cut ties with the attorney."

Jackson gave the Sun a copy of an email from Anderson dated Sept. 15, where the athletic director informed him that he was severing ties between the university and the attorney.

The attorney said he continued to work on the case because he had "an ethical and moral obligation to work on [the players'] behalf."

Maryland stated Thursday that the President's Office learned on Sept. 27 that Anderson had not cut ties, prompting an internal investigation.

On Friday, a Maryland spokeswoman told the Sun that “the issue is not whether the email was sent, it was that the [attorney's] work did not stop and it was not reported back to the university that the work did not stop.”

The Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct handled the two students-athletes' sexual misconduct case. Both student-athletes were disciplined by the university, according to The Diamondback.

The university announced last October that Anderson would take a six-month sabbatical. He later resigned as Maryland's athletic director in April.

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