National | Sports

Issue: "Remaking the family," March 6, 2004

Colorado Buffaloed

Usually hiring an interim coach signals a significant change in direction. Most often an interim coach presides over a team until a replacement can be found for the fired boss. Gary Barnett, the suspended Colorado coach, hopes he's the exception to the rule.

Colorado University officials placed Mr. Barnett on paid leave and installed long-time assistant Brian Cabral as interim coach after Mr. Barnett criticized the athletic ability of a former female Colorado kicker who accused some of her teammates of raping her. Former CU kicker Katie Hnida's allegations came amidst a firestorm of rape allegations against the Colorado football team and its recruits. Since 1997, seven women have alleged Colorado players or recruits raped them. And many of the claims come from a Dec. 7, 2001, party where four Colorado players were charged with serving alcohol to minors-possibly football recruits-and three women claimed that football players raped them.

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Mr. Barnett has insisted he's done nothing wrong.

But as the allegations mount, the scandal moves further from an NCAA investigation and toward a criminal probe. That should give Colorado officials even more reason to worry: For instance, what former Baylor coach Dave Bliss sought to cover up early in the investigation into Patrick Dennehy's disappearance and murder, he could not keep secret from a criminal investigation.

Mr. Cabral will take the Buffaloes through spring practices, but if the program is exonerated at the top levels, Mr. Barnett could be back on the sidelines in time for the first game of the season.

Scandal timeline

Dec. 7, 2001 One woman claims CU football players or recruits raped her at an off-campus party while she was drunk.

May 3, 2002 Instead of rape charges, prosecutors file felony charges against four CU football players for allegedly providing alcohol to minors at the party. The next day CU revokes the scholarships of the four players who attended the party.

Dec. 9, 2002 A year and two days after the event, Lisa Simpson files a civil suit against the school, claiming she was raped by football players and recruits during the party.

Dec. 10, 2003 A second woman sues CU, saying she was raped by football players at the same event as Ms. Simpson.

Jan. 14, 2004 Another alleged rape victim comes forward when former CU soccer player Monique Gillaspie files suit, saying she too was raped at the party.

Jan. 28, 2004 In a deposition, Boulder prosecutor Mary Keenan accuses CU of using sex and alcohol to recruit athletes.

Jan. 29, 2004 Head coach Gary Barnett, athletic director Dick Tharp, and others deny the allegations. Gov. Bill Owens demands a public accounting.

Feb. 2, 2004 CU president Elizabeth Hoffman announces an independent commission will look into Ms. Keenan's allegations.

Feb. 10, 2004 An adult-entertainment company says CU football players hired strippers for recruiting parties.

Feb. 13, 2004 CU says escort service was called from a cellular telephone once assigned to former football recruiting assistant Nathan Maxcey. Maxcey says there was no connection to players or recruits.

Feb. 17, 2004 Sports Illustrated reports on former CU kicker Katie Hnida's allegations that she was raped by a teammate in 2000. CU announces it will hire an administrator to oversee athletics.

Feb. 18, 2004 Barnett placed on paid administrative leave over comments he made about Hnida's athletic ability. Hoffman said the comments were "unacceptable" in the context of rape allegations. Police release report in which a woman says a CU football player sexually assaulted her in September 2001. She claims Barnett told her he would back his player 100 percent if charges were pursued. The case is closed when she decides not to file charges.

Feb. 19, 2004 Police say they are investigating whether a Colorado football player raped a woman in 2002, the seventh allegation of its kind to surface since 1997. c

NASCAR drivers better not verbalize their road rage. At least not into a microphone. NASCAR president Mike Helton begged drivers to watch their language when giving television interviews. The warning stems from a fear of the FCC, awakened recently to the vulgarity of television following the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake incident at the Super Bowl.

Chris Mills ended his last season with the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Since then, it's been a whirlwind. Golden State sent the veteran forward to Dallas with forward Antawn Jamison. Dallas soon sent Mr. Mills to Boston along with Raef LaFrentz. Now Boston has shipped him to Atlanta. That's four teams in one year for Mr. Mills-all without a minute of court time. His chief value hasn't been talent, but that teams have used his salary to balance trades.


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