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Buffs' recruiting, boosters under scrutiny

8/13/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

DENVER -- The director of the University of Colorado's
beleaguered athletics department and the chief financial officer of
its Boulder campus appeared Friday before a grand jury
investigating recruiting practices of the football team and
spending by the school's fund-raising foundation.

Athletics Director Richard Tharp spent nearly three hours in the
grand jury room Friday morning but declined to say what was
discussed.

"We're having a picnic," said his attorney, Chuck Brega.

Tharp was followed by Ric Porreca, CFO of the Boulder campus,
and Daniel Predovich, who identified himself as a certified public
accountant and fraud examiner. Both declined comment.

The grand jury, which began meeting in May, is the first
indication criminal charges could be filed in a scandal that led to
sweeping changes in football recruiting and a scathing review of
university leadership.

The University of Colorado Foundation, which raises money for
the university, confirmed last week that the grand jury is looking
into foundation spending practices and the Buffalo Football
Technique School, a private football camp run by head football
coach Gary Barnett.

Barnett and the foundation have said their spending is closely
monitored and proper.

Nine women have said they were raped by CU football players or
recruits since 1997. Prosecutors have not filed any charges, citing
concerns about the evidence and the reluctance of the women to go
pursue the cases.

A commission appointed by the university regents concluded that
players arranged sex, drugs and alcohol for recruits but said there
was no evidence Colorado officials "knowingly sanctioned" the
activities.

Still pending are federal lawsuits filed by three women who say
they were raped by recruits or players at or just after an
off-campus party in December 2001.

The grand jury has also heard from Barnett, director of football
operations David Hansburg, several players and campus police
officers.