The University of Alabama says it wants to "set the record straight" on why it refunded a record $26.5 million gift to Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr.

The university released a selection of emails Sunday showing its relationship soured with Culverhouse long before he called on students to boycott enrolling at the school over the state's hardline anti-abortion legislation.

University officials say the emails show Culverhouse attempted to influence university operations such as student admissions and scholarship awards, and that's why they returned his gift.

But Culverhouse says the emails only tell part of the story. He believes the decision amounted to retribution after he spoke out on abortion, and he says he thinks at least one email from the university was "fabricated."