Panel wants graduation rates of athletes

Updated: March 23, 2004, 8:31 PM ET
Associated Press

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- The independent panel investigating athletic recruiting at the University of Colorado on Tuesday pressed for details of attitudes in the athletic department, while sex assault experts schooled the panel on victims, perpetrators and prevention.

Meanwhile, some commissioners asked for more time to wade through thousands of pages of documents before reporting on what they have learned on recruiting and misconduct.

On Tuesday, panel members asked university officials for graduation rates and admissions test scores for football players, along with copies of performance evaluations for coaches, Chancellor Richard Byyny and Athletic Director Dick Tharp.

Provost Phil DiStefano and Ron Stump, vice chancellor for student affairs, said they would get the information.

Commissioner Jacqueline St. Joan questioned whether administrators had a "hands off" policy for the athletic department, which she said seemed to have more autonomy than other parts of the university.

Stump said university administrators and athletics officials talk to each other, but the athletic department ultimately decides how to spend its money.

The Board of Regents appointed the panel and asked it to report by April 30 on whether sex and alcohol are used as recruiting tools and to make recommendations.

Seven women since 1997 have accused football players or recruits of sexual assault, though no charges have been filed. The state attorney general is heading a separate investigation that could result in criminal charges.

DiStefano and Stump left before two sex assault experts invited by the panel spoke Tuesday. Three other university officials stayed.

Teresa Wroe of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault said men -- not just women -- need to be involved in assault prevention programs and not just one-time presentations.

Although alcohol can contribute to rapes, prevailing attitudes such as pressures for men to have sex are a greater factor, she said. Having the support of male campus leaders for prevention and awareness programs is crucial, she said.

"If male leadership hasn't bought into that this is an important issue, the effort is not going to have a big impact," she said.

She said sexual assault should be tackled in much the same way as drinking and driving, which has become a social taboo.

Anne Munch of the Colorado District Attorney's Council played for the panel a 911 tape of a woman reporting she was raped by a man she met at a bar. Munch said some might ask whether the woman was to blame by inviting the man home, but no one would question an allegation of theft if a friend gave Munch $50 and then Munch took $50 more without the friend's consent.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press