The University of Colorado has reinstated suspended football coach Gary Barnett, and made it clear that no one will lose their jobs because of the school's football recruiting scandal.
University President Elizabeth Hoffman says the embattled athletics department will be restructured as part of “sweeping” changes to reduce its autonomy and install greater accountability. She says Barnett and Athletic Director Richard Tharp will remain
at the school.
Barnett says he's grateful for the support he's received from parents, players and others, and that he appreciated Hoffman's decision. Barnett also says he's “dedicated to leading a socially responsible program that will be a source of pride to CU, athletically and academically.”
Excerpts from statements prepared by University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman:
“Make no mistake, the organizational and structural actions we are announcing today are serious, sweeping and will dramatically alter the relationship between the athletics department and the rest of the university. We believe the new structure and procedures are unprecedented among major universities.”
“I take responsibility for my share of those problems, as do chancellor Byyny, athletics director Tharp and coach Barnett. I have spoken with each person individually and in-depth about the problems that occurred and the corrections that must be instituted going forward.”
“To the women of CU, and especially to those who have been the victims of sexual misconduct, I want to say that I feel deeply for you and I empathize with the suffering and frustration some of you have experienced. I want to state categorically: Violence against women is abhorrent to the values of this university. Period.”
“Did Coach Barnett say things that I and others have found offensive? The answer is yes, and for that he has paid a price. Coach Barnett has his shortcomings. But there is an overwhelming sense from a broad group, both male and female, that he has been a great mentor, that he is a tough disciplinarian, a developer of behavioral guidelines for his athletes and a man who believes that a coach's job is to prepare young men and women for their life ahead, not simply to excel in athletics.”
“Could he (Tharp), in some instances, have performed better regarding administration of policies and procedures? Yes. When considered with the many innovations and reforms he has helped institute, were his errors so egregious that they should result in his immediate dismissal? I think not. Dick fully supports the new plan and wishes to help implement it.''
“It is not acceptable to shield your teammates if they are engaging in behavior detrimental to themselves, other students, their team or this school. We cannot be lax in this area.”
“Personnel decisions, such as those we are addressing today, should not be regarded as a blood sport. This is not a soap opera, or a cartoon, or a caricature. They are extremely serious matters that deeply affect the people involved and their families.”
Excerpts from statements prepared by University of Colorado Chancellor Richard Byyny:
“I take responsibility for implementing our action plan and for holding accountable those individuals who have administrative oversight of the department's activities. The message we are sending should be clear: We will take action, and we will be accountable.”
Reaction to this decision: