Former Buffs coach Barnett says lawsuit held school 'hostage'

Updated: December 7, 2007, 1:33 AM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Former University of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett says the lawsuit brought by two women who claimed they were gang-raped by football players and recruits at a party held the school "hostage".

CU announced it was settling the lawsuit on Wednesday, three months after an appellate court revived the case. Without admitting fault or liability, the school agreed to pay Lisa Simpson $2.5 million, while the other woman, who did not wish be identified publicly, will receive $350,000.

In a posting on his Web site, Barnett said the settlement means CU and its athletic department will never get their day in court.

"It is hard to believe that we live in a society where allegations have enough clout to hold a wonderful and well respected university hostage," he said.

No sexual assault charges were filed as a result of the women's complaints. A grand jury investigation resulted in a single indictment against a former football recruiting aide for soliciting a prostitute and misusing a school cell phone.

A separate inquiry, backed by the university's governing Board of Regents, concluded that drugs, alcohol and sex were used to entice blue chip recruits to the Boulder campus but said none of the activity was knowingly sanctioned by university officials.

The scandal prompted broad university reforms and led to a shake-up of the school's top leaders. CU President Betsy Hoffman and Athletic Director Dick Tharp resigned but Barnett survived. He later accepted a buyout after a 70-3 loss to Texas in the 2005 Big 12 championship game.

Simpson's lawyer, Baine Kerr, said he wasn't surprised by Barnett's reaction.

"It's just ironic that that the guy who was responsible for causing so much damage would be blaming others, but it's to be expected from him," Kerr said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press