Tharp could step aside Monday

Updated: November 20, 2004, 1:09 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press