Decision on his job expected by June

Updated: May 18, 2004, 9:27 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Suspended University of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett said Tuesday he felt vindicated by a report that found he didn't condone recruiting abuses but faulted him for lax oversight.

"I'm not relieved, because I didn't expect them to find anything. I'm not happy because I didn't want to go through this process. Vindication is probably the best word," Barnett said.

The 50-page report, created by an eight-person panel investigating Colorado's recruiting practices, found that some players had provided sex, drugs and alcohol to football recruits. It said those players "felt pressured to impress recruits."

The report said school officials failed to properly monitor the football program or ignored what was going on.

At least nine women have said they were raped by Colorado football players or recruits since 1997. No charges have been filed, but three of the women have filed federal lawsuits accusing the school of violating federal Title IX laws against gender discrimination.

Barnett was suspend Feb. 18 for comments he made in two of the cases.

CU President Elizabeth Hoffman is expected to make a decision on Barnett's future by the end of the month after reviewing the report.

Asked about Barnett's assessment that he had been vindicated, university spokeswoman Michele Ames said, "Mr. Barnett can read the report the way he wants. President Hoffman will be making a decision by the end of the month."

Barnett has maintained he has done nothing wrong and said the report bore that out.

"I knew there wasn't anything there, so I knew they weren't going to find anything," Barnett said. "Hopefully, sometime soon, I can get back to work and get done all the things that need to be done."

The report criticized Barnett for failing to properly monitor recruits and not following proper protocols in reporting sexual assault and harassment. It characterized him as someone with an "unproductive, defensive attitude" who resisted some recruiting changes.

Some of the harshest criticism was directed at Barnett's immediate boss, Athletic Director Dick Tharp. Chancellor Richard Byyny, who oversees CU's main campus in Boulder, and Hoffman also were singled out.

With about two weeks left in the spring recruiting period, Barnett wants to get back to work as soon as possible.

"It's been exactly three months to the day that it (his suspension) occurred, so I don't think unless you're in it you can really understand how much time has been lost and how much work needs to be done at this point in time," Barnett said.

Barnett said he was glad to see the report come out, but not for his own gratification.

"It's important nationally for it to be seen the way it is, for the people who have been out there, skeptical of what's going on, I think it's important for them to see it more so than it is for me," Barnett said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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