Grand jury says it uncovered ‘slush fund’ at CU football program
the associated press
DENVER ” An investigation of the University of Colorado football recruiting scandal uncovered a “slush fund” financed by coach Gary Barnett’s football camp, according to a grand jury report leaked to the media.
Money was kept in “16 or 17” cash boxes, each managed by a different person with little oversight, according to the grand jury’s findings, which were first reported by The Denver Post and KUSA-TV in Denver.
A source who has seen the grand jury report confirmed the contents to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The source spoke on condition of anonymity.
The grand jury also reported that two female athletic trainers said they were sexually assaulted by an assistant coach and one was “coerced to perform sexual favors for players and recruits repeatedly over a two-year period.” It was not immediately clear whether the women testified directly to the grand jury.
The grand jury, which finished meeting Aug. 19, handed up a single indictment accusing former football recruiting aide Nathan Maxcey of soliciting a prostitute for himself and misusing a school-issued cell phone. Maxcey has not entered a plea.
It was not clear why the panel did not issue more indictments.
University officials did not immediately return telephone messages Tuesday.
In statements issued Monday night, Barnett said he could not comment because of grand jury secrecy rules, and CU President Betsy Hoffman said the school did not tolerate sexual harassment and has made changes in the athletic department.
District Judge Jeff Bayless previously ruled that the grand jury report should remain secret. The state attorney general’s office is appealing the decision and wants the report made public.
The report concurred with an independent commission’s finding last year that players used sex, alcohol and marijuana as recruiting tools without the football staff encouraging or sanctioning it.
Grand jurors added that officials’ denial of knowledge about the practices “demonstrates either conscious disregard of these circumstances or a lack of oversight of recruiting practices.”
The report said CU director of football operations David Hansburg “told the grand jury that up to $2,500 could be missing, but not missed” from the cash boxes. “All funds were available to employees of the football program” and “all funds were available to coach Barnett to use in his discretion.”
Barnett told the grand jury that “the school received only income from the registration fees of (football camp) participants,” according to the report.
Hansburg declined comment.
The report said Barnett and Hansburg gave conflicting explanations of the team’s finances. It said the school, Barnett’s football camp and the University of Colorado Foundation, the university’s independent fund-raising arm, failed to provide all documents requested.
Foundation President Michael Byram said in a statement the report “confirms that the University of Colorado Foundation is innocent of any improper actions or wrongdoing.” He said he could not comment further.
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