A fresh start for CU
OK, the independent commission assigned to sort through the University of Colorado football team’s recruiting mess has filed its report. So now what?This might sound drastic, but clean house. Send the football coach, the athletic director, the chancellor and the university president on their way. They share fully in the failures of oversight that led to sordid tales of sex, drinking and such during parties for recruits. It doesn’t matter that “all the universities” do this stuff. Colorado got caught.Now the university has a chance to take real leadership in cleaning up longstanding abuses in the athletic departments. Or continue down a wink, wink, nudge, nudge path of pretending to take action until scrutiny ends into the behavior and returns, like gravity, to the win-loss column.The latter seems to sound just fine to at least a couple of CU’s regents, including the vice chair who bemoaned the suffering of the leaders enduring the investigation. But if you take the commission’s report at all seriously, what do you do with:n An otherwise controlling coach who somehow manages to know nothing about how recruits were introduced to the CU way, resists changes in recruiting procedures doesn’t follow what protocols were in place regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment claims?
n An athletic director who evades and ignores policy changes and espouses the need for coaches to have “plausible deniability” about recruiting hijinks?n A Boulder campus chancellor who fails to follow through with directives to the athletic department and who lets the department run amok for years?n A university president who wasn’t stirred to action until the governor and other top state officials called her out?If change is what you are truly after, well, you clean house. Fire all of them. In light of their failures, how can anyone believe this is the group to deliver the “profound changes” the commission calls for? The answer is that you can’t.The CU Board of Regents, if it is serious, must remove university President Betsy Hoffman, CU-Boulder Chancellor Richard Byyny, Athletic Director Dick Tharp and head football coach Gary Barnett.It is a tough pill. But keeping them only ensures that little will change in the future. If the school’s supposed focus on academics over sports glory is to become more than convenient lip service, all these leaders must go.That’s the only way the university begins to redeem itself. All these people lost when winning games became paramount. D.R.