The University of Maryland has issued a statement admitting that former athletic director Kevin Anderson used athletic department funds to pay for the legal defense of two football players accused in June 2017 of sexual misconduct.

According to The Washington Post, the university's presidents office learned of the payment when the school received an invoice from the attorney hired to defend the players. Anderson was instructed to sever ties with said attorney, and failed to do so, actions that 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," a university spokesperson stated Thursday.

Reached by phone Thursday night, Anderson told the Post, "That report is inaccurate." Anderson went on sabbatical last October and resigned in April, though it was unclear at the time why. Neither the sexual misconduct nor the school's handling of the situation had been previously reported.

According to two Post sources, Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin reached out to The Sports Group, an Alabama-based law firm, at the direction of Anderson. Durkin is currently on administrative leave in the wake of the football practice death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. A lawyer for the firm posted on Facebook that Anderson didn't retain his firm and that initial reports were meant to paint him in an unflattering light.

However, according to the statement from the school, university administration learned on Aug. 29, 2017, that the athletic department had hired an attorney to represent the players. The school said Anderson did not follow proper protocols “requiring General Counsel to retain outside counsel.” The firm was retained with $15,000 out of Anderson's discretionary fund made up of booster money, not money from the state.

One of the accused players was expelled and the other left the school, despite being cleared by the university's investigation.

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.