Stephen Powell claims he is a graduate of the Kennedy School at Harvard. The school says he’s not entitled to a degree because he has student debt.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story:

Harvard Fights a Defamation Lawsuit From the Founder of HBO Sports

Got student debt? You’re not alone, but maybe it means you really didn’t graduate from college. Sound outlandish? Well, consider the position now being taken by Harvard University in response to a defamation lawsuit from entertainment industry veteran Stephen Powell.

“Powell claims that Harvard conferred an MPA degree on him in 1994, and is now suing Harvard seeking an order that Harvard be stopped from denying that he is a graduate of the Kennedy School,” states a December 22 court filing by Harvard. “However, Powell never paid Harvard for any of the costs of obtaining an MPA degree, and indeed deliberately avoided paying Harvard for the costs of that degree. Fundamental principles of equity dictate that Powell cannot claim entitlement to a degree without paying for it.”

Represented by the same attorney at Clare Locke who took on Rolling Stone magazine over the infamous campus rape article, Powell filed his lawsuit in June. In his complaint, Powell identifies himself as the founder of HBO Sports, the first programming chief at ESPN, and later, an investment banker specializing in media transactions. He is the founder of SinoPowell Capital, and with an undergraduate degree in economics from Brown and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Powell sought in the early 1990s to round out his impressive educational bona fides with a master’s in public administration at Harvard’s prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government. Since then, he’s remained active with the school’s alumni organizations.