University of Alabama officials have released a selection of emails to back up their contention that their decision to return a record $26.5 million donation had nothing to do with the donor's highly publicized call for a boycott in response to the state's new, near-total abortion ban.

Instead, the emails suggest the relationship between the university and Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. had already soured before he called the boycott, and the university was already moving to return his record donation before he spoke out.

The university said Culverhouse Jr., a 70-year-old Florida real estate investor who pledged the record-setting gift in September, attempted to influence student admissions, scholarship awards, the hiring and firing of faculty and the employment status of the law school dean.

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