Faculty calls program 'intolerable'

Updated: May 6, 2004, 10:50 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Saying the situation has become "intolerable," University of Colorado faculty suggested an overhaul of the embattled athletics department Thursday that includes tying coaches' jobs to the academic performance of players.

The Boulder Faculty Assembly said there needs to be more academic control of athletic teams. It said athletes' academic performance should be part of annual reviews for coaches, and that all athletic department responsibilities should fall under the chancellor.

The faculty group voted unanimously to approve a report calling for the changes.

"Their recommendations will be carefully considered among others emerging from the various reviews now underway," Chancellor Richard Byyny said.

Among the suggestions are requiring athletes to meet the same admissions standards as other students, involving faculty members more actively in recruiting and limiting the number of scholarships for teams with poor academic performance and graduation rates.

The proposal also calls for an Athletics Governing Board that would search for and hire head coaches and the athletic director.

Fifty-three percent of Colorado football players graduated within six years, a 2003 NCAA report found. That is a lower rate than the graduation rate of 62 percent for student-athletes at all Division I schools and 67 percent for all students at CU.

The rate for Colorado football players, however, is high enough to pass a proposed NCAA standard to be eligible for postseason play.

"Unfortunately, intercollegiate athletics has come to operate almost independently of the academic enterprise and has become dismissive of the primary mission of the institution," the faculty proposal says. "This is an intolerable situation."

The football program was plunged into scandal earlier this year as details leaked out from civil lawsuits filed against the school by three women who say they were raped by football athletes in 2001.

In one deposition, Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan said sex and alcohol are used to entice recruits to the Boulder campus. Five other women have also accused football athletes of rape since 1997, though no charges have been filed.

The university, a Board of Regents' panel and the state attorney general are all investigating the allegations. The school has already made sweeping changes to its football recruiting program, including limiting the visits by recruits, adding chaperones and putting in an 11 p.m. curfew believed to be the strictest in the nation.

The faculty also proposed shorter seasons and practice times so athletes have more time for academics.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press