Audit questions Colorado spending, Barnett football camps
December 12, 2005
DENVER – A state audit released Monday said the records of former Colorado football coach Gary Barnett’s football camp were in such disarray that auditors couldn’t be sure whether any laws were broken in more than $400,000 worth of transactions.Auditors said they were unable to determine where $328,000 paid to Barnett’s camps came from – 44 percent of the total income between 2002 and 2004. Nearly $103,000 in expenses from that period lacked sufficient paperwork, the audit said.”The absence of documentation and financial records prevented us from obtaining reasonable assurance that there were no violations of laws and regulations,” the audit report said.Barnett stepped down under pressure last week after his teams lost their final three games of the regular season. His attorney, John Rodman, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.Separately, the audit questioned more than $300,000 in Colorado athletic department expenses since 2002 and said some administrators and members of the governing Board of Regents had not filed required conflict-of-interest reports.In their review of athletic department finances, auditors said they found an “overall lack of controls over spending and cash advances that have led to poorly documented, questionable and unallowable expenses.”They questioned two cash advances, of $115,000 each, for team expenses at bowl games in 2002 and 2004. The report called them “excessive” and said about $16,000 lacked sufficient documentation.The audit also questioned another $55,800 in football program expenses and $25,000 in bowl game expenses. It said the department did not have adequate controls over the use of “courtesy cars” loaned by car dealers.Auditors also found fault with the regents and seven high-level university officials, saying they failed to file 38 required reports on conflicts of interest.The audit made 15 recommendations for change, including tighter controls over cash advances, better documentation of expenses and more training.Last week, university president Hank Brown announced an overhaul of CU’s accounting and purchasing practices, including tightening spending controls in athletics. He and other school officials were expected to discuss the audit later Monday.The audit was released four days after Barnett stepped down for a $3 million settlement of his contract. He had largely weathered a scandal in which at least nine women alleged they were sexually assaulted by athletes – no criminal charges were ever filed – but had watched his team struggle at the end of the season, including blowout losses to Nebraska and Texas.Like almost all coaches at big football schools, Barnett ran a football camp, earnings from which helped augment his salary and those of his assistants. But it came under scrutiny – as did most aspects of Barnett’s football program – in the wake of the recruiting scandal that enveloped the university over the past couple of years.A regents-backed investigation concluded drugs, alcohol and sex were used to entice recruits to the Boulder campus, though none of practices were sanctioned by university officials. Barnett emerged relatively clean from the scandal, although school president Betsy Hoffman, chancellor Richard Byyny and athletic director Dick Tharp all left in the aftermath.