Duer-gateI guess the SWAC just wouldn’t be the SWAC if there wasn’t a good scandal to come up every 7 to 8 years or so.

If you’ve been following the SWAC for a while you probably remember Rudy-gate, the SWAC scandal of 2001 where former SWAC Commissioner Rudy Washington was reportedly fired for overpaying himself $78,750 in salary.


Of course lawsuits were filed and fingers were pointed, but Rudy even pointed a finger at us:

The suit states that “Washington’s termination is nothing more than a political power play based on misleading and overstated charges.” The suit also lists rumors circulated about Washington, some on The SWAC Page Internet Message Board (www.swacpage.com), an independent website not run by the conference, which accuse Washington of stealing $1.5 million and labeled him “a crook, thief, con artist and scammer.”

“Those rumors are of such specificity and such direct accusations of theft that they almost have to come from the SWAC, or somebody who knows about this audit report,” Falkenberry said in the Birmingham News story.

We fast forward to our new year of 2009 where it appears that a new scandal is brewing. This time it involves SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp.

Yesterday, I reported on the message board that Duer fired 3 people on his staff. They were Will Bright (Dir. of Media Relations), Jennifer Huggins (Asst. Commissioner of Championships) and Deborah Vaughn (Dir. of Finance & Accounting).

From what I understand there was no severance pay. Not even a reason given as to why they were being fired. Just an envelope that was handed to them informing them their employment with the SWAC had been terminated.

What raises an eyebrow about these firings is two fold and could possibly result in a double scandal of sorts. For the sake of clarity, we will label each scandal as Duer-gate (DG1) and Duer-gate (DG2).

Duer-gate1 involves accusations of Duer literally modifying the voting ballots that resulted in a nominee not being inducted with the class of 2008 to the SWAC Hall of Fame. What is even more disturbing is the reasoning for Duer’s actions, which according to my sources was simply because he didn’t like the person.

The same was echoed by what appears to be a well informed newcomer to the TSPN message board. The user sums up DG1 in just two posts.

The word from a fly on the wall is there was something fishy about the SWAC Hall of Fame selections this year and the Commish fired everyone he “thought” might have been responsible for letting it out

seems like Duer did not like one of the people nominated (by the committee) for the SWAC HOF and he changed (altered) the ballot of several voters so that person would not have the 60% votes to keep the person from being named to the HOF

Apparently the SWAC Council of Presidents is aware of DG1. I’m told that after learning about Duer’s actions, James Frank (the former SWAC commissioner before Rudy Washington) was asked by the SCP to investigate the situation.

According to sources, the person who did not get inducted (because of Duer) was Alabama State Track Coach Horace Crump. Here is a quick bio I found on Crump from an ASU press release dated November 2007.

Track Head Coach Horace Crump has 38 years of coaching experience, 30 of which have been at Alabama State University. Crump has led the school to 11 SWAC Championships and has been selected SWAC Coach of the Year 11 times. In addition, he was elected president of the SWAC Track Coaches Association. An ASU alumnus, Crump was an accomplished athlete in college. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and has served as an assistant professor of HPER at ASU. Crump and his wife have three sons and one daughter.

Let’s see…30 years…11 SWAC titles…that’s a success rate of 36%. I’d say that’s worthy of being a SWAC Hall of Famer. Apparently those who voted thought so as well.

If this is true (and I have no reason to believe it isn’t), it is a gross abuse of power and privilege – if such terms are applicable to the position of SWAC commissioner these days.

Duer-gate2 (which I will explain in greater detail in next 24-48 hours) is a scandal that is still in formation and could potentially have legal implications. Not only does it involve the latest round of firings by Sharp, but involve the firings of other former SWAC staff members over the past 14 months. If the legal implications hold, the SWAC could face heavy financial penalties.

And yes…I tried contacting the SWAC office and left a message asking for a statement, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Kenn Rashad
Founding Editor & Publisher of HBCU Sports and a graduate of Grambling State University.

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1 Comment

  1. Pathetic. Duer please fire yourself

  2. At the time of her firing, Huggins was Assistant Commissioner – Championships. She had been promoted back in August, when Cory Lima (the previous director) left to take a position with the NCAA.
    The three firings on Thursday were all directorships (Media Relations, Championships and Finance) which should make managing the upcoming conference championships an interesting process.

  3. Thank you OW. The correction has been made.

  4. To add injury to insult….Duer…how could you fire someone whom ascended from an intern to Assistant Commissioner of Championships. I guess you stepped in it this time…they say it doesn’t stink until you stir it up…how this plays out is going to be very embarrassing to the conference and especially you….you’re so stupid!!!!lmao

  5. Now THAT’s a scoop! Great hustle on this story TSPN!

  6. […] – TSPNSports.com is at the forefront of this story with some behind-the-scenes opinion on just how crazy Duer Sharp really […]

  7. […] by recanting a statement I made regarding Duer-gate. I previously reported that Duer-gate was a “Double SWAC Scandal In the Making”. Well that was incorrect. The information I’ve received over the last 2 days indicates that […]

  8. WOW! Duer is crazy, but who did not already know that. You fire the only two people who was left in the office who knew how to run a championship (GOD knows the people in place now have no idea how to run one, i.e. soccer, volleyball, xc) What exactly does your “Assistant Commissioner / Communications” do? And how can a secretary become a director of championship? What exactly does the conference liaison do that helped him keep his job? Duer you and whomever else is helping you run the conference office are idiots!

  9. […] As we have discussed before…and again, nothing is as it seems on the surface when working with SWAC commissioner Duer Sharp; especially when not one…not two… but three staffers leave within the course of a week. I will report more as details become available. […]

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