Barnett: Even Lincoln had setbacks
BOULDER, Colo. -- Suspended University of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett told recruits the investigation of alleged sexual assaults by recruits will be a test of the team and its resolve, calling it a "bump in the road," the Daily Camera reported Monday.
In letters sent to recruits and team supporters, Barnett also said the situation would help define the team's legacy.
Eleven letters dated Feb. 11, including one from now interim head coach Brian Cabral, turned up in more than 10,000 pages of documents made public by the university last week as a result of media requests for correspondence involving the team.
|In one letter written one week before his Feb. 18 suspension, Barnett said Abraham Lincoln suffered eight election losses, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown before cementing his place in history as president.|
Colorado omitted the names of people the letters were addressed to, saying rules do not allow universities to make public information about minors or prospective players for sports teams.
Seven women have accused Colorado football players or recruits of rape since 1997. The school faces federal lawsuits by three women who say they were raped at or just after a 2001 off-campus party attended by players and recruits. Players also have been accused of hiring strippers for recruits.
Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan has said she believes the football program offered sex and alcohol to lure recruits to Boulder, a claim university officials have denied.
Barnett is on paid leave for remarks he made in connection with two of the rape allegations, including disparaging the athletic ability of a former player who said she was raped by a teammate in 2000.
No sexual assault charges have been filed in any of the cases.
Colorado spokeswoman Pauline Hale said the letters are probably part of regular communication the football coaching staff has with prospective players.
In one letter written one week before his Feb. 18 suspension, Barnett said Abraham Lincoln suffered eight election losses, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown before cementing his place in history as president.
"At times like this, I find it inspiring to look back through history and see people that have been knocked down or slipped along their journey and fought back and experienced great triumphs," Barnett wrote.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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