Grand jury criticizes Colorado for poor supervision

Updated: August 31, 2004, 9:07 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- The grand jury that investigated the University of Colorado football recruiting scandal reportedly will issue a report criticizing the school's regents for being "unqualified" to supervise the football program.

The Rocky Mountain News, citing a source familiar with the grand jury's report, said Monday that the document also will include criticism of CU-Boulder chancellor Richard Byyny, athletic director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett. The report also will criticize the CU Foundation, the school's private fund-raising arm, for not cooperating with the investigation.

The grand jury investigated whether CU's football program used sex and alcohol to lure recruits. Like an independent commission convened by the regents to investigate the claims, the grand jury reportedly concluded that, while the practice existed, there was no evidence athletic officials knew about it.

The grand jury found that Byyny didn't provide good supervision of the athletic department and that Tharp and Barnett created a culture in the department that caused recruiting problems, the News said.

Bynny, Tharp and Barnett refused to comment because the report has not been released yet.

Athletic department spokesman Dave Plati said Sunday that Barnett and Tharp have taken an oath not to discuss the grand jury report.

"As it was explained to them, they'd be breaking the law if they were to discuss it," Plati said.

The university would not comment on the report, CU spokeswoman Michele Ames said.

Several regents declined comment because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings and because they have not been able to read the report.

"I don't know of any regents that were deposed in front of the grand jury," said Regent Tom Lucero of Johnstown. "I don't know what the basis was for reaching their conclusions."

Regent Jim Martin said Tuesday he has hired a lawyer.

Martin, who did not seek re-election this year, said he consulted with Attorney General Ken Salazar's office and decided to hire his own counsel. He would not elaborate.

The comments came as six members of the Board of Regents met privately to discuss the report with CU President Elizabeth Hoffman, Byyny and chief legal counsel Charles Sweet.

CU Foundation president Michael Byram said he was surprised by the reported findings of the grand jury.

"We were assured over and over again that the foundation provided every document that we were asked for," Byram said.

The grand jury, which finished meeting Aug. 19, handed up an indictment against former recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey for soliciting a prostitute for himself.

Former call girl Pasha Cowan had alleged that Maxcey paid her $2,500 for three call girls to visit "very young, very athletic men" at Boulder-area hotels, which Maxcey has denied.

Salazar convened the grand jury after being asked by Gov. Bill Owens to look into the allegations against the football program.

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.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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