Buffs' recruiting, boosters under scrutiny

Updated: August 13, 2004, 5:37 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press