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  • Report: Audit questions spending by Colorado, Barnett

    Nov. 18, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Stricter spending controls are needed at the University of Colorado, its foundation and at football camps run by head coach Gary Barnett, according to an auditor hired by state prosecutors.

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    The auditor questioned numerous unexplained transactions, including $780,000 in deposits to the Gary Barnett Football Technique School and $13,000 in "tuition" payments to the children of two assistant coaches, the Rocky Mountain News reported in Wednesday's edition. The newspaper said it obtained a copy of the report by auditor Predovich & Company of Highlands Ranch.

    The report also questioned the undocumented use of "large amounts" of money labeled "petty cash."

    The report concluded that the university, the CU Foundation and Barnett's football schools failed to produce documents subpoenaed by Attorney General Ken Salazar's office.

    In a statement Wednesday, Colorado president Elizabeth Hoffman and Boulder campus chancellor Richard Byyny said the university has never seen a written report by Predovich & Company. They said they were "outraged" that the document was released to the press, and said they had brought it to the attention of the judge in the grand jury investigation.

    "We believe we fully complied with all subpoenas for documents issued by the grand jury," Hoffman and Byyny said. They said they had received assurances from Salazar's office that the university had complied with the subpoenas.

    The auditor's report recommended a "complete, independent review" of internal financial controls at the university, the foundation and at Barnett's schools.

    Hoffman and Byyny said they believe those controls are "appropriate and adequate," but said they have ordered additional audits to ensure public confidence.

    In its own statement, the foundation said it went to "extraordinary lengths" to comply with grand jury requests. Its own audit released in August found only seven minor errors, according to the statement.

    "There is absolutely no indication of anything illicit or unseemly," foundation chairman George Sissel said. "Considering the large volume of transactions worth millions of dollars, these findings are exemplary."

    An audit released by the chancellor's office last week recommended the university ban the use of private funds for recruiting, a measure already implemented by the athletic department.

    It also said it found no evidence that escorts or strippers were hired to lure recruits.

    Hoffman and Byyny said Barnett and his football school have agreed to an independent audit of all transactions involving the football school and an organization it started that also was cited in the Predovich report.

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    The grand jury investigation and other investigations were prompted by two federal lawsuits filed against the university by women who claimed they were raped by football players or recruits at a Dec. 7, 2001 off-campus party. The lawsuits accuse the university of fostering an atmosphere that failed to discourage sexual assault and harassment, depriving the women of equal educational opportunities.

    A regent-appointed panel in May said sex and booze were used to entice football recruits to Boulder, without the university's knowledge.

    No criminal charges were filed in any of the alleged sexual assaults, but the grand jury indicted former recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey for allegedly hiring a prostitute and using his university-issued cell phone to call prostitutes.

    Maxcey has denied any wrongdoing.

    The auditor's report cited incomplete or missing explanations for numerous payments by or deposits to accounts operated by the university, the foundation and the football schools.

    Among them were some large "petty cash" payments including one check for $5,100, and a lack of documentation provided to state investigators for miscellaneous charges of nearly $14,500 to a San Antonio, Texas, hotel when the Buffaloes attended the December 2002 Alamo Bowl.

    Meanwhile, the grand jury's written report remains sealed under an order by Denver District Judge Jeffrey Bayless.

    Salazar's office has asked the judge to reconsider the order, and has indicated it will appeal if the ruling stands.

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  • DJRamFan
    Colorado recruiting aide can review grand jury materials
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 14, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    BOULDER, Colo. -- The only person indicted in the University of Colorado football scandal won the right Thursday to review all materials from a grand jury that investigated the scandal but lost a bid to have the case suspended based on alleged leaks from the secret panel.

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    The materials ordered released could include transcripts of conversations between prosecutors and grand jurors, testimony by witnesses, and a fraud investigator's report on the CU athletic department's finances and a private foundation.

    Nathan Maxcey, 28, was charged with soliciting a prostitute and embezzlement of public property by misusing his university-issued cell phone. Maxcey, who flew in from Texas to attend the hearing, did not enter a plea and refused to comment to reporters afterward.

    "I don't know if there is any information in that material that may be exculpatory for Mr. Maxcey," Maxcey's attorney Patrick Mulligan argued before the judge. "But there is a great wealth of additional (material) that I need to parse through to determine what may or may not be relevant."

    District Judge Daniel Hale ordered the material released under seal, meaning only Mulligan and his investigators have access to the information.

    Hale also ordered the attendance records of grand jurors released so Mulligan could determine if the jurors who heard key testimony were the same jurors who voted to issue an indictment.

    Before his ruling on the grand jury material, Hale rejected Mulligan's motion to suspend the case based on newspaper reports that an accountant conducted a fraud examination of the university's finances as part of the grand jury's investigation.

    Mulligan argued the media reports might show prosecutorial misconduct because the leak of secret information might have come from people involved in the grand jury investigation. Such misconduct could lead to a dismissal, Mulligan argued.

    Hale said he would wait to rule on that issue until an investigation into the alleged leaks ordered by Denver District Judge Jeffrey Bayless, who oversaw the panel's investigation, was completed.

    The next court date was set for April 1.

    Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Kowert, who argued the case for the Boulder district attorney's office, said the DA's office would release the grand jury material to Mulligan.

    "Grand jury materials are not routinely given to the defendant, but it's not unheard of either," said Dan Recht, former president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.

    Kowert argued that the material not be released because it was ordered sealed by Bayless. She also argued that Maxcey wasn't entitled to all the information because there were two separate investigations...
    -01-14-2005, 11:36 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Medical examiner says meningitis killed Missouri player
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 23, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The family of a Missouri football player who collapsed following a workout last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school Tuesday, the same day medical examiners said Aaron O'Neal died of viral meningitis.

    Swelling in the 19-year-old's brain subsequently affected his heart and caused him to lose his ability to properly breathe, Boone County Medical Examiner Valerie Rao said. Toxicology tests ruled out steroids, performance supplements, alcohol and other drugs as contributing factors.

    "The manner of death is natural," Rao said a news conference.

    She told O'Neal's family and the Tigers football team about her findings Monday.

    But while the cause of death was not directly related to an on-field injury or a training regimen, the autopsy results still don't resolve questions about O'Neal's care, said St. Louis attorney Bob Blitz, who is representing O'Neal's father in a lawsuit filed in Boone County Circuit Court.

    The suit names 14 university athletic officials, including athletic director Mike Alden and coach Gary Pinkel, the head trainer and head strength and conditioning coach.

    "When you have viral meningitis, these symptoms start showing before," he said. "Nobody really dies from viral meningitis unless you have symptoms."

    In a statement, the attorney said the legal action was a result of "preposterous denial by University of Missouri officials of any responsibility for Aaron's demise."

    O'Neal, a backup middle linebacker who was 6-foot-3 and weighed 220 pounds, started to struggle during conditioning drills about 45 minutes into the July 12 session, during which players wore shorts, T-shirts and football cleats but no helmets or pads. As required by NCAA rules, head coach Gary Pinkel and his assistants did not attend the sessions, which are billed as voluntary.

    He slumped to the ground after the final drill and was helped off the field by a teammate. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital at 4:05 p.m., or just over 90 minutes after the workout ended.

    Rao's autopsy report, which included the results of interviews with 11 players, eight conditioning coaches and three trainers present at the July 12 workout, also raises questions about the moments leading up to O'Neal's death.

    O'Neal repeatedly lost his balance during a stretching exercise and told a player and a conditioning coach, both unnamed by Rao, that "he could not see and his vision was blurred."

    Once O'Neal was on the ground after the final drill, a trainer who examined him concluded that "there was nothing that could be done," Rao wrote.

    In the team locker room after the workout, O'Neal's...
    -08-24-2005, 08:05 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Florida A&M volunteers to implement penalties
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 1, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida A&M volunteered to strip its football program of 28 scholarships over three years and impose a one-year postseason ban on its men's basketball team as the school conceded a "widespread" lack of institutional control in an internal report released Monday.

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    The school fired football coach Billy Joe several weeks ago as part of its effort to avoid additional penalties for more than 200 violations that surfaced in nearly every varsity sport at the historically black college.

    The report also recommended eliminating 4.5 baseball scholarships, 3.5 in men's track and 2.5 in women's track and curtail recruiting activities for three years and reduce the time allowed for football practice.

    The university's findings revealed more than 100 athletes were allowed to compete without filling out eligibility or drug-testing consent forms required by the NCAA.

    Florida A&M said it would vacate any team or individual records or awards resulting from performances by ineligible athletes between 1998-2005.

    In addition, the school volunteered to eliminate one assistant basketball coach and a graduate assistant in the program for 2005-06, the same season the school banned itself from the postseason.

    In all, 12 of the school's sports programs will be affected.

    The investigation has already led to the school stripping itself of 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles, including two in football.

    Florida A&M forwarded this report to the NCAA in June, but had not released the details of the proposed scholarship cuts. The NCAA is doing its own investigation at the school and is expected to make its ruling this fall.

    The proposed cutbacks would coincide with Florida A&M's budget cuts that have staggered the athletic department.

    Suffering from a school-wide budget crisis, Florida A&M has already eliminated its men's tennis and golf teams and its men's and women's swimming and diving programs, cutting the total number of programs from 18 to 14.

    In addition to releasing copies of its own internal evaluation, Florida A&M selected a new compliance director -- Rosalyn Dunlap -- and the university is also advertising for a new vice president of audit and compliance.

    Joe, who was 86-46 in 11 seasons at the school, filed suit last month to get access to records the school cited at the time he was fired. The university pointed to NCAA rules violations in recruiting and eligibility as the reason for his dismissal.

    Former University of Miami and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Rubin Carter was chosen as Joe's replacement last month.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated...
    -08-02-2005, 02:33 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Colorado indicted by grand jury in recruiting scandal
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 22, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    DENVER -- A state grand jury has handed down an indictment regarding the use of prostitutes to entice football recruits to the University of Colorado, according to a published report.

    The Denver Post reported the development in its Sunday editions. The newspaper, however, does not say who is named in the indictment. Whomever is indicted will be notified within 10 days and then will have 10 days to respond.

    Ken Lane, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, did not return a phone call from the Associated Press seeking comment Sunday.

    Among those who testified before the panel were football coach Gary Barnett, Athletics Director Richard Tharp, several players and Pasha Cowan, the former manager of an escort service.

    Cowan said football recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey paid her $2,500 for three call girls to visit "very young, very athletic men" at Boulder-area hotels. Maxcey has denied any wrongdoing.

    The grand jury began its work in May after Gov. Bill Owens called for an investigation into allegations that the Colorado football program used sex, strippers and alcohol to recruit promising athletes.

    A commission appointed by the university regents concluded that players arranged sex, drugs and alcohol for recruits but said there was no evidence Colorado officials "knowingly sanctioned" the activities.

    Still pending are federal lawsuits filed by three women who say they were raped by recruits or players in December 2001.



    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-23-2004, 11:40 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA imposes additional probation year to South Carolina
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 24, 2005
    CBS SportsLine.com wire reports




    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The NCAA added an extra year to South Carolina's self-imposed two years' probation, but did not impose sanctions on TV or postseason appearances for 10 violations that occurred during the tenure of retired football coach Lou Holtz.

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    The NCAA Committee on Infractions reviewed South Carolina's case earlier this month. Committee vice chairman Josephine Potuto wrote university president Andrew Sorensen on Aug. 16 that the group "concurred that the university's investigation into the violations set forth in the report was thorough and complete."

    South Carolina had already placed itself on probation, taken away four scholarships from the football program over the next two years and reduced by 12 the number of paid on-campus visits by recruits.

    The NCAA panel adopted those penalties and extended the probation.

    NCAA will also require the school to forward infractions report to its regional accrediting agency, and imposed a four-year show cause order should former South Carolina administrator Tom Perry try for employment at another athletic department.

    Sorensen wrote to the NCAA committee accepting the additional penalties.

    "We are satisfied with the results," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "We appreciate the NCAA basically agreeing with our proposal. For the next couple of years, we will only have 83 players on scholarship."

    In July, the university released a summary disposition report, prepared jointly with the NCAA, that outlined 10 violations -- five which South Carolina admitted were major. The NCAA said one violation that the school deemed secondary was a major infraction. The disagreement will be settled in the NCAA's final report to the school, university spokesman Russ McKinney said.

    New South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman said the NCAA's decision "brings closure to this situation."

    Perry, an ex-senior associate athletic director for academic support services, was at the center of the most serious violations. The report found Perry arranged for impermissible tutoring help during the summer of 2001 for two prospective players who were coming from two-year colleges. After the incident was self-reported, Perry declared the athletes ineligible and made the players make restitution for the tutoring.

    The NCAA panel's letter appears to close a case that it first looked into more than three years ago. Holtz has repeatedly refused to return messages from the Associated Press seeking comment. However, at a celebrity golf tournament last month, he said "five of the violations were reported by us, there was no money involved, no recruiting violations, no enticements, but nevertheless,...
    -08-24-2005, 08:03 PM
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