Secretary says she didn't pass on message

6/30/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

DENVER -- A prosecutor says she is confident the University
of Colorado football coach received her warnings to clean up the
program's recruiting, even though the coach's former secretary said
she never relayed one of those warnings to him.

The former secretary, Jan Ankney, said in deposition that she
never told coach Gary Barnett of the prosecutor's admonition that
the football program should steer clear of using alcohol and sex as
recruiting lures.

But Mary Keenan, now the Boulder County district attorney, said
Tuesday she had also warned other university officials, who told
her that Barnett was given her message.

Ankney gave the deposition, released Monday, in connection with
a lawsuit filed against the university by female students who
alleged they were sexually assaulted at a recruiting party in 2001.

The lawsuit triggered a scandal around the football program,
including allegations that sex, alcohol and strippers were used to
recruit promising athletes. No charges have been filed, but a grand
jury is looking into allegations that a former recruiting aide paid
$2,000 to an escort service.

The aide, Nathan Maxcey, has said any sexual liaisons were for

An independent commission concluded that university officials
did not sanction the use of sex and alcohol in recruiting but did
not supervise the program closely enough.

In her deposition, Ankney said Keenan, her roommate and close
friend at the time, had asked her to make sure Barnett knew about
problems with the program.

Keenan told The Associated Press that Ankney's deposition has
little bearing on whether Barnett knew about the warning.

"This would be just another attempt to make sure he knew,"
said Keenan, who was an assistant district attorney when she asked
Ankney to pass on the warning.

She said Robert Chichester, Colorado's former senior associate
athletic director, has said in a sworn statement that he discussed
Keenan's concerns with Barnett on numerous occasions.

Keenan has said she also met with Chancellor Richard Byyny and
Athletic Director Dick Tharp on Feb. 18, 1998, to discuss her
concerns about an alleged sexual assault by two football players at
a party in a Boulder hotel room in 1997.

Keenan said she warned them to make certain there was no repeat,
though no charges were filed in the 1997 case.

Ankney said she did not deliver the warning because "I didn't
feel comfortable telling him. ... I thought about [it] several times,
and I never could find the proper time, and I never felt
comfortable bringing it up."

Ankney said in her deposition that she lied to Keenan twice
about passing on the warning to Barnett because she did not want to
disappoint her.

Ankney also said she had twice talked with Barnett about
comments Keenan had made about him, and Barnett once asked her to
intercede with Keenan. She did not elaborate.