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Tharp could step aside Monday

11/20/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- Dick Tharp, director of the University of Colorado's embattled athletic department, is expected to resign as early as Monday, the Boulder Daily Camera reported Saturday.

It quoted a source inside the university and a longtime CU
booster who had spoken with Tharp. None of the sources was named.

University spokeswoman Michelle McKinney said she was unaware of any plans for Tharp to resign. Tharp was not available for comment, the Camera said.

Tharp has served as athletic director since May of 1997, after
serving as interim director a year. In addition to a salary of
$175,000 he is paid bonuses if CU gets invited to a bowl game.

Regent-elect Michael Carrigan has said Tharp should resign.

Athletic department spokesman Dave Plati, reached Saturday
morning, said he knew nothing of any plans for Tharp to resign.

Tharp came under scrutiny when an independent commission
investigated whether sex and alcohol were used to recruit promising
football athletes to the school in Boulder.

The commission concluded there was no evidence university
officials sanctioned players' use of sex and alcohol in recruiting
but that oversight of recruiting practices was lax.

Meanwhile, Denver District Judge H. Jeffrey Bayless ordered an investigation Friday into leaks of a grand jury's investigation of
the spending practices of the university.

The grand jury issued a report on its findings, but it was
ordered sealed by Bayless. The Rocky Mountain News reported some of the grand jury's findings Wednesday, including that jurors
admonished the university and coach Gary Barnett for lax spending
and oversight.

Bayless denied a request from Attorney General Ken Salazar to release the grand jury's report.

The grand jury investigated CU's football recruiting program
this summer after three women filed federal lawsuits alleging they
were raped by football recruits or players. The lawsuits are
pending.

The university's athletic department has faced increasing
criticism about about donations from private, outside fund-raising
groups. On Friday, the university agreed to work with the state
auditor's office to review some of the transactions.