Barnett supporters signing Internet petition

2/27/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- Supporters of suspended University of
Colorado football coach Gary Barnett are signing an Internet
petition, wearing "Free Barnett" T-shirts and threatening to
withhold donations if he is fired without sufficient reason.

"It seems like the tide is turning a little bit," said Boulder
resident Kim Moss, a CU graduate trying to rally support for the
beleaguered coach and program.

Barnett was suspended on Feb. 18 for remarks he made about
former CU player Katie Hnida after she said she was raped by a
teammate. She is one of six women who have said they were raped by
CU players or recruits since 2001.

The university established a commission to investigate charges
that the football program used sex and alcohol to recruit high
school athletes, and revelations that players hired strippers to
entertain recruits and that a former CU employee had used a
university cell phone to call an escort service.

A pro-Barnett Web site, www.supportourbuffs.org sprang up on
Sunday, and more than 800 people had signed a petition there by
early Thursday condemning a "rush to judgment,'' said Eric
Gleason, a CU graduate and creator of the site.

"All of this just got me really angry, and this was something I
could do about it," Gleason said from London, where he is an
investment banker.

James Legg, a donor from Houston, has written to university
administrators saying he would withhold future donations if they
fire Barnett without more reason than has surfaced so far.

Legg said he donated more than $10,000 to the Golden Buffalo
Scholarship Fund last year and has committed another $10,000 toward
weight room improvements this year.

"So far this has turned out to be a big witch hunt," Legg