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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Barnett to stay; no other personnel changes planned

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posted on May, 26 2004 @ 07:28 PM
BOULDER, Colo. -- University of Colorado President Betsy Hoffman plans to reinstate suspended football coach Gary Barnett, and no other changes in athletics personnel are planned, the Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.

The athletic department will be placed under stricter oversight by the university, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources close to the school.

CU spokeswoman Michele Ames said she could neither confirm nor deny the report and said no announcement was planned. Barnett's attorney declined comment. The coach has an unlisted phone number.

Patty Klopfenstein, whose son is a tight end on the team, sent players' parents an e-mail that said: "There's going be an impromptu party the night it is announced that Gary is reinstated. It will be in the Boulder area, and most likely everyone will be asked to bring something."

She did not return telephone messages.

Colorado director of football operations David Hansburg told the paper he was not privy to any decision Hoffman might have made about Barnett's return.

"It wouldn't surprise me," he said. "We've said that all along."

Earlier this month, an investigative panel appointed by the CU Board of Regents and a special liaison whom Hoffman named to study CU's sports programs recommended more oversight of the athletic department, which has been led by Dick Tharp since 1997.

The investigative commission recommended that Tharp report to Provost Phil DiStefano rather than Chancellor Richard Byyny because the provost's office would be able to provide "more attentive supervision."

As for Barnett, Hoffman placed him on paid administrative leave Feb. 18 after comments he made about some of the nine women who have alleged since 1997 that they were sexually assaulted by CU football players or recruits.

One of the women was former Buffaloes place-kicker Katie Hnida, who told Sports Illustrated she was sexually assaulted by a teammate in 2000. In answering questions from reporters after the story appeared, Barnett said Hnida was a "terrible" player. Hnida now attends the University of New Mexico.

His remarks came as the university faced lawsuits from three women who allege they were sexually assaulted at or after a 2001 party attended by players and recruits. District Attorney Mary Keenan did not file assault charges, but later said she believed sex and booze were used as recruiting tools.

Last week, the investigating commission concluded that sex and alcohol were used in recruiting but that there was no evidence that CU officials "knowingly sanctioned" them. The report criticized Barnett, Tharp, Byyny and Hoffman for lax oversight and slow reactions to recruiting problems.

Regents, though, affirmed that Hoffman's job was safe, and Hoffman expressed her confidence in Byyny. Hoffman issued no statement regarding Barnett and Tharp.

On Monday, former coach Bill McCartney weighed in on Barnett's fate. In a letter to Hoffman, the founder of the Promise Keepers organization for Christian men said Barnett should keep his job.

[Edited on 5/26/2004 by Ben]

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