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8/31/2004

CU regents ‘unqualified’ to lead football

The Associated Press

DENVER— The grand jury that investigated the University of Colorado football recruiting scandal will reportedly issue a report criticizing the school’s regents for being “unqualified” to supervise the football program.

A Denver newspaper, citing a source familiar with the grand jury’s report, said Monday that the document will also include criticism of CU-Boulder Chancellor Richard Byyny, Athletic Director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett. The report also will criticize the CU Foundation, the school’s private fundraising arm, for not cooperating with the investigation.

The grand jury investigated whether CU’s football program used sex and alcohol to lure recruits. Like an independent commission convened by the regents to investigate the claims, the grand jury has reportedly concluded that while the practice existed there was no evidence that athletic officials knew about it.

The grand jury found that Byyny didn’t provide good supervision of the athletic department and that Tharp and Barnett created a culture in the department that caused recruiting problems, the Denver newspaper said.

Byyny, Tharp and Barnett refused to comment because the report has not been released yet.

Athletic department spokesman Dave Plati said Sunday that Barnett and Tharp have take an oath not to discuss the grand jury report.

“As it was explained to them, they’d be breaking the law if they were to discuss it,” Plati said.

The university would not comment on the report, CU spokeswoman Michele Ames said.

Several regents declined comment because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings and because they have not been able to read the report.

“I don’t know of any regents that were deposed in front of the grand jury,” said Regent Tom Lucero of Johnstown. “I don’t know what the basis was for reaching their conclusions.”

Regent Jim Martin, who abandoned his re-election bid earlier this month, said regents haven’t shown good leadership.

“What is it going to take to wake the university up, particularly in the area of athletics, to accountability?” he said.

CU Foundation president Michael Byram said he was surprised by the reported findings of the grand jury.

“We were assured over and over again that the foundation provided every document that we were asked for,” Byram said.

The grand jury, which finished meeting Aug. 19, handed up an indictment against former recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey for soliciting for a prostitute for himself.

Former call girl Pasha Cowan had alleged that Maxcey paid her $2,500 for three call girls to visit “very young, very athletic men” at Boulder-area hotels, which Maxcey has denied.

Attorney General Ken Salazar convened the grand jury after being asked by Gov. Bill Owens to look into the allegations against the football program.

Still pending are federal lawsuits filed by three women who say they were raped by recruits or players at or just after an off-campus party in December 2001.

 

 
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