Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

CU puts Barnett on leave (after "poor" response to rape allegations)
Denver Post ^ | 2.19.04 | Erin Emery and Jim Hughes

Posted on 02/19/2004 6:04:47 AM PST by mhking

University of Colorado president Betsy Hoffman put football coach Gary Barnett on paid administrative leave Wednesday night, saying she was "utterly distressed" by a police report that describes Barnett as siding "100 percent" with a player accused of rape.

She also cited comments Barnett made about former CU place-kicker Katie Hnida, another of the five women who have now alleged sexual assault by CU football players or recruits.

"Our decision was based on coach Barnett's recent remarks about former student Katie Hnida's athletic abilities," Hoffman said. "His remarks about her were extremely inappropriate and insensitive. Rape is a horrific allegation, and it should be taken seriously."

On Tuesday, after Hnida went public with the allegation she was raped, Barnett called the former CU Buffalo a "terrible" kicker who "couldn't kick the ball through the uprights."

In a statement Wednesday night, Barnett said his remarks about Hnida had been misunderstood.

"I apologize for answering that question in a manner where I must have come across as insensitive," he said. "... I am very sensitive to Katie's allegations; I want to do whatever I can to help Katie."

He said that, as a "team player," he will abide by Hoffman's decision to suspend him from actively running the football program.

Barnett also said there were "some inaccuracies" in the 2001 police report. That Boulder Police Department report stemmed from allegations from another woman who says that a player raped her in September 2001 and that Barnett told her if she pursued criminal charges he would side with the player.

CU-Boulder chancellor Richard Byyny said that Barnett never notified senior CU officials about the September 2001 rape charge and that he should have.

"He was obliged to inform us when he became aware of it," Byyny said.

Regina Cowles, president of the National Organization for Women's Boulder chapter, said she thinks CU should have fired both Barnett and athletic director Dick Tharp on Wednesday.

"It's just outrageous because I just don't know what it's going to take to get CU, the administration's attention on this. They say the words that they're taking this seriously, and I believe that they want to, but I wonder if they know how to," she said.

She said Barnett's denials of wrongdoing are "really wearing thin."

In particular, Cowles denounced Barnett's comments about Hnida.

"His comments about Katie Hnida were malicious victim-bashing," she said. "And it is really revolting to me to hear him say that these comments were taken out of context when they have been played back on tape dozens of times."

In those comments, Barnett said: "It was obvious that Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do - they respect your ability. Katie was a girl, and not only was she a girl, she was terrible. There's no other way to say it. She couldn't kick the ball through the uprights."

Barnett will remain on paid leave until April 30, the date that an independent panel convened by the CU Board of Regents this week is expected to finish an inquiry into the football team's recruiting practices, Hoffman said.

Tharp said in a statement that he also was disturbed by Barnett's criticisms of Hnida.

It has not yet been determined how the football team will be run between now and April 30, he said.

"In the coming days, I will meet with ... Barnett and members of the coaching staff and the football team to jointly develop a plan for moving forward during this period," he said.

Hoffman said her announcement, which was made at 10 p.m. Wednesday, was not easy to make.

"We did not act in haste, we will not act in haste in the future, but we believe we've done the right thing," she said.

Gov. Bill Owens praised Hoffman for taking action.

"In view of the serious allegations concerning the CU football program, the action taken this evening by president Hoffman is both appropriate and necessary," he said.

The woman whose allegation became public Wednesday evening told police in October 2001 that Barnett responded to her complaint by saying "that he would back his player 100 percent if she took this forward in the criminal process," according to a 16-page Boulder Police Department account of the incident.

The department blacked out the name of the player and the name of the alleged victim from the report.

The report said that police closed the case because the woman wanted "to wait and see" if Barnett made good on his promise to take care of the problem.

Barnett's suspension comes exactly three weeks after depositions taken in the federal lawsuit of a woman suing the school were released.

That woman, Lisa Simpson, alleges she was gang-raped at a party at her off-campus apartment in Boulder attended by football players and recruits Dec. 7, 2001. Since she filed her federal lawsuit in 2002, two other women have filed similar suits.

All three are suing under Title IX, the federal law against gender discrimination in federally funded schools.

The three women allege that CU athletic department officials like Barnett and Tharp have known that football recruits were being entertained in ways that could lead to sexual assault but failed to stop the practice.

Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan, a potential witness in the lawsuit, said in her deposition that she believed CU used sex and alcohol to recruit football players.

Throughout the lawsuit, Hoffman, Byyny, Tharp, Barnett and other CU officials have denied the charge that they have either endorsed or willfully ignored the alleged mistreatment of women in the football recruiting program.

On Tuesday, Barnett told reporters that he would not resign, because he had done nothing wrong.

After the coach was put on leave Wednesday, his players said they support Barnett, who came to CU with a reputation as a disciplinarian.

Quarterback Joel Klatt stood behind Barnett after seeing the news conference on television, saying he'd "never seen coach Barnett do anything unethical."

But Klatt was not prepared to criticize Hoffman.

"I'm not going to say he's been treated unfairly," he said. "There's been some hard things to overcome. But I think the main thing people need to realize is there are no facts right now. There is no evidence. Until those things come out, it's very hard to judge him as a person first and, second, as a coach."

Russell Sprague, father of Buffs receiver Dusty Sprague, said he and his family have found Barnett and his staff to have "the utmost integrity."

Asked of his reaction to Barnett's administrative leave, Sprague replied, "I'm just sad, and the reason I'm sad, I respect the young lady and I want things to be fully investigated, but I'm sad for him because I've seen a different side. We've seen a coach who, with my son anyway, has made him accountable and made him do the right things."

On campus, some students said they also were shocked by Barnett's alleged reaction in 2001.

"If he knew about it and didn't do anything, it's almost like he's supporting it," freshman Mindy Malone said.

But junior Joey Morris said that the new report confirmed some of the allegations that have already been lodged against the football team.

"It seemed they were doing nothing about it," he said.

CU Regent Gail Schwartz said she was "sickened" by Barnett's comments about Hnida on Tuesday.

"We need to move him from that environment so we can find out exactly what is going on," she said.

Schwartz said Hoffman and Byyny are right to trust the volunteer citizens' panel to investigate the football program and clear or indict Barnett by the April 30 deadline.

"We have competent people who have good advice and good help to make a reasonable assessment," she said.

CU Regent Jim Martin, who has been outspoken about the sexual assault allegations, said "swift action" was required even before an independent investigative commission appointed by the board of regents Monday could begin its work.

Tharp also should be held accountable for what Martin described as an increasingly questionable environment fostered in the football program, he said.

"It's not just Gary Barnett," Martin said. "The athletic director (Tharp) is really the CEO of the athletic department, so we need to be as equally critical of his participation or lack thereof and whether he's done his job. Gary Barnett is not the only wrongdoer in this. As far as management, you have to look up the chain."

Like Hoffman, Martin was troubled by the police report made public Wednesday.

"If it's true, that's obstruction of justice. That's as bad as the act itself, and it puts a whole different light on the credibility of Gary Barnett," he said.

Keenan said that Hoffman had made the right decision.

"I'm really sad that something couldn't be done earlier. I've tried to work with people over the years to address this issue," she said.

Keenan said she had told Hoffman about the September 2001 incident two weeks ago. Notes taken during that meeting by a university staffer indicate that Barnett also threatened the job of that alleged victim, an athletic department employee.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: coloradocoach; rapeallegation; suspension
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-78 last
To: mhking
She had no business being allowed to sign up in the first place.
Message to CU: "See what happens when you succumb to the PC crowd?"

Related posts-Interesting stuff:

61 posted on 02/19/2004 9:14:22 AM PST by VMI70 (...but two Wrights made an airplane)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MineralMan
"After being fired for such a "terrible" 9-3 record at Nebraska, he moves to another Big 12 team and kicks Husker butt." They also passed up on a good thing with Bo Pelini. He's been hired by the Sooners, Nebraska's other big rival. So we might actually see that happen when Nebraska plays Oklahoma on Nov 13, their 2nd to last game of the season, followed by Colorado.
62 posted on 02/19/2004 9:15:42 AM PST by shadowman99
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: dmz
From the article:

Regina Cowles, president of the National Organization for Women's Boulder chapter, said she thinks CU should have fired both Barnett and athletic director Dick Tharp on Wednesday.

"It's just outrageous because I just don't know what it's going to take to get CU, the administration's attention on this. They say the words that they're taking this seriously, and I believe that they want to, but I wonder if they know how to," she said.

My comment was not about the president of the college, it was about the person quoted above, Regina Cowles.

I used to believe NOW had some credibility. After their selling out women because they liked Bill's leftist policies, they have none.

63 posted on 02/19/2004 9:18:40 AM PST by jimt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: dmz
Wasn't it obvious he was talking about the NOW woman?

You may think it irrelevant that NOW chooses to defend some women victims and not others. I and other commonsense types here see the obvious political opportunism NOW engages in.

All of that is beside the point of the veracity of the claims in these situations. NOW obviously decides who is credible based on certain criteria. If one is victimized by a dem politicican they could care less what happens to the woman.

That's the point and an indisputable fact.

64 posted on 02/19/2004 9:41:48 AM PST by cyncooper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: dmz
In a news conference about the allegations, why did he bring up her performance. as you say... "One has nothing to do with the other. "

Because a reporter ASKED him about her performance.

His answer was too blunt for the situation and was indeed not tactful or wise.

65 posted on 02/19/2004 9:43:10 AM PST by cyncooper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: mhking
The only thing a college football coach should be concerned with are wins & losses. And, maybe how big his contract is. Everything else is for wimps and losers to worry about.
66 posted on 02/19/2004 9:49:45 AM PST by familyofman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jimt; cyncooper
my mistake. sorry.
67 posted on 02/19/2004 10:02:07 AM PST by dmz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: jimt
Why are people surprised by Barnett's insensitivity? Weren't they watching when he forced Craig Ochs and Marcus Houston into transferring to Montana and Colorado State, respectively, for being overtly Christian? It might be unfair to say this but I suspect that abusing Christians wouldn't bother Ms. Hoffman or Ms. NOW-lady at all.
68 posted on 02/19/2004 10:23:34 AM PST by CommerceComet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: drjimmy
1. What does talking about her abilities as a player have to do with rape? Why is it insensitive? One has nothing to do with the other.
Barnett explicitly connected her ability to what happened to her: "It was obvious that Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do - they respect your

"explicitly"? See post #65 for your edification.

And in Barnett's world, apparently "what guys do" when they don't respect your ability is rape you if you're a girl.

Wow! That's another leap. I know it pained you, but I sure am glad you put the words "apparently" in your response.

Your other replies are equally disingenuous.
69 posted on 02/19/2004 10:30:33 AM PST by VMI70 (...but two Wrights made an airplane)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: mhking
How about a pathetically self-absorbed and disinterested response to the rape allegations? How about him just about saying? "As long as it wins a few games and it's not my daughter." What a jerk.

Crawl back under your rock Mr. Barnett.
70 posted on 02/19/2004 10:39:53 AM PST by .cnI redruM (The only winner of a Neocon/Paleocan turd-chucking contest is John Forbes Kerry.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mhking
It sounds like this coach's attitude may be heart of misogynistic actions of the school's athletes.
71 posted on 02/19/2004 10:57:11 AM PST by Jeff Gordon (arabed - verb: lower in esteem; hurt the pride of [syn: mortify, chagrin, humble, abase, humiliate])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mhking
The thing that bothers me about the female placekickers charges is that she waited so long to come forward and did not file charges or even name the assailant. Now out of nowhere she makes these charges. Obviously Barnett's statement was stupid. I just wonder if Colorado's situation is any worse than any other Division I school.
72 posted on 02/19/2004 12:21:47 PM PST by Uncle Hal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: drjimmy; dmz
New Sex Allegation Emerges at Colorado

AP Sports Writer

Colorado football coach Gary Barnett was suspended for his comments about a female player who accused a teammate of rape, the latest blow to an already-troubled football program. A sixth sex allegation also was being investigated.
Barnett was placed on paid leave Wednesday night by university president Elizabeth Hoffman, who also said she was "utterly distressed" over comments Barnett made in a 2001 police report filed by another woman who said a football player raped her.

The suspension came one day after he criticized the performance of former Colorado kicker Katie Hnida, who said she was raped by a teammate four years ago. The coach called her an "awful" player and said she couldn't "kick the ball through the uprights."

On Thursday, police said they were investigating the sixth sexual assault allegation involving a football player. Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said the alleged assault happened in August 2002, but would not discuss details.

Barnett, 57, will be on leave while an independent committee investigates a burgeoning list of allegations involving the football program, including rapes, recruiting parties featuring alcohol and sex, escort services and hiring strippers.

Barnett said he disagreed with Hoffman's decision but apologized and accepted it, calling himself "a team player." He also said the police report contained some inaccuracies.

Hnida, who now plays for the University of New Mexico, last year became the first woman ever to score points in a Division I-A football game.

Ryan Johanningmeier, who was a team captain while Hnida played at Colorado, said Thursday some teammates could be "a bit nasty."

"However, we all get called names. I got called names," he told ABC-TV's "Good Morning America."

Johanningmeier said that when one player's comments about Hnida got too personal, Barnett "gave this guy a pretty good reprimand in front of the team, reminded us once again that this was a player on the team who needs to be treated with respect. A lot of it stopped at that point, from what I saw."

Hoffman called Barnett's Tuesday comments "extremely inappropriate and insensitive" remarks were the main reason Barnett was put on administrative leave, Hoffman said.

"Rape is a horrific allegation and it should be taken seriously," she said.

After spending much of Wednesday commenting about Barnett's remarks, Hoffman learned police had released the report that quoted an unidentified woman saying Barnett told her he "would back his player 100 percent" if rape charges were pursued. The woman declined to file charges.

Hoffman said she learned of the woman's rape allegation recently, but it was unclear when Barnett first knew of it.

The accusations involving the football program that have surfaced over the past three weeks stem from civil lawsuits filed by three women against the school. They said they were raped by players or recruits at or after an off-campus party in December 2001.

No assault charges have been filed in those cases, but Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan said in a deposition for one of the lawsuits that she believes the football program uses alcohol and sex to entice recruits.

CU formed an independent investigative committee this week to look into the accusations, with the goal of issuing a report on April 30. Hoffman also said she would hire an administrator to oversee athletics, reporting directly to her and Chancellor Richard Byyny.

Hnida told Sports Illustrated that she was assaulted in the summer of 2000 at the home of a teammate while attending Colorado. Asked why she didn't tell police, she said she was afraid of the player and didn't want a "media mess."

Barnett later that day snapped at a reporter who asked him about her abilities. "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful," he said. "Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."

During a brief news conference in Boulder late Wednesday, Barnett apologized "for answering that question in a manner where I must have come across as insensitive."

He said his remarks were taken out of context or misinterpreted.

Hoffman, who was not present for Barnett's press conference, said the coach "was not apologetic" when she discussed his remarks with him earlier. "It was my feeling ... that he did not understand the seriousness of the comments he had made the day before," Hoffman said.

Byyny said an interim head coach would be named, probably within 48 hours, and most likely would be an assistant coach currently on the staff.

Gov. Bill Owens agreed with Hoffman's decision.

"In view of the serious allegations concerning the CU football program, the action taken this evening by President Hoffman is both appropriate and necessary," Owens said in a statement.

CU athletic director Richard Tharp also supported the decision to place Barnett on leave.

Barnett was hired to coach Colorado's football team five years ago with the goal of ending an era of loose recruiting practices and return the team to national prominence.

He has led Colorado to a Big 12 Conference title and a BCS bowl game in his five seasons as head coach. But during the last two seasons, nine players were suspended for various violations of team rules, including curfew and behavior standards.

Barnett's contract runs through 2006.

73 posted on 02/19/2004 12:49:41 PM PST by Jaded (Personally, I think they should bring back flogging and burning at the stake. /so)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Hal
They aren't out of no-where really, there is a criminal investigation of 4 rapes that occured at a party in Dec 2000, a couple of months after she claims to have been raped and left the school. A sixth has come forward today according to ESPN.

74 posted on 02/19/2004 1:12:36 PM PST by Dead Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 72 | View Replies]

To: MineralMan
I would also love the idea. Solich for all intensive purposes ran a fairly clean football team. He just might be the ointment that CU is desperately needing right now. Even though I am a Vols fan, I had been warming to NU until the whole Steve Pederson fiasco.
75 posted on 02/19/2004 1:27:43 PM PST by VetoBill (Who is the actor that plays Dan Rather?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: CommerceComet
I'm not surprised. He sounds like an idiot.
76 posted on 02/19/2004 2:17:08 PM PST by jimt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 68 | View Replies]

To: Seruzawa
I may be prejudiced, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the vicious treatment High School Freshman from the @$$hole Varsity football players with the gym coach encouraging their terrorism against the smaller weaker guys. So I love it when I see sports-bullies eat dirt.

Seconded! So why do we go on voting for their goddamed tax-funded stadiums? Why do we vote to keep contaminating our universities with their thug players?

77 posted on 02/19/2004 8:36:17 PM PST by BlazingArizona
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: mhking
Is it just me, or does this Barnett seem to be about 1 step away from legally retarded?

Sadly, I fear this is the norm rather than the exception. And sadly, the average college football fan doesn't give a crap as long as this turd can put a "winner" on the field.

I give most of you all props for your supportive attitude. This poor young woman has been used to make a political point and it's an absolute tragedy. :(
78 posted on 02/20/2004 3:37:10 PM PST by Borderline44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-6061-78 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson