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Colorado footing large bill for probe

6/30/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- The University of Colorado has racked up
$813,416 in expenses relating to investigations into its football
recruiting program.

The investigations were launched after the release in January of
a deposition in which Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan said
she believed CU used sex and alcohol to help recruit promising
athletes.

Her deposition was part of a lawsuit filed by a woman who
alleges she was raped at a 2001 party attended by football players
and recruits.

CU leaders have long said the athletic department would pay
costs of investigations into the allegations with non-taxpayer
dollars, but some regents at a meeting Tuesday suggested tapping
funds from the Boulder campus chancellor's office.

"This has been identified as a cultural problem, so to ask
athletics to bear the entire cost seems inappropriate," Regent Jim
Martin said.

Boulder campus officials said other programs will go unfunded if
the chancellor pays bills for the investigation.

Regent Jerry Rutledge, a close friend of football coach Gary
Barnett, questioned how the athletic department would pay the costs
considering it faces a 3.5 percent budget cut in 2004-05. The
department budget was $36.5 million this year.

The expenses include $170,770 for an internal investigation,
$247,174 for communications help, $256,498 for an outside
investigative commission appointed by regents, $100,065 for a
temporary athletics liaison and $13,440 for CU President Betsy
Hoffman to travel to Washington to testify at a congressional
hearing.

Regent Gail Schwartz said the athletic department should pay the
costs. "These obviously were athletic department issues and
shortcomings. They bear responsibility for the reforms and the
costs," she said.

Nine women have alleged they were raped by CU football players
or recruits since 1997. No charges have been filed. Three of the
women have filed lawsuits against the university alleging
violations of federal Title IX laws, which bar discrimination in
education.

This spring Hoffman announced strict changes in recruiting rules
and tightened oversight of the athletic department. The changes
take effect Thursday.