Katie Hnida in a Tuesday press conference after an interview she gave was made public in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. "> Katie Hnida in a Tuesday press conference after an interview she gave was made public in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. ">

Barnett Placed On Administrative Leave

University of Colorado head football coach <b>Gary Barnett</b> was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday night after the most recent in a series of accusations that his program may have fostered a culture that was hostile to women. School president <b>Elizabeth Hoffman</b> said Barnett had made "unacceptable" comments about former kicker <b>Katie Hnida</b> in a Tuesday press conference after an interview she gave was made public in this week's edition of <i>Sports Illustrated</i>.

In it, Hnida claims that rape was among "the horrors" of being a member of Barnett's team during the 1999-00 season. The senior, now enrolled in the University of New Mexico, said in a statement released Tuesday that players had rubbed up against her, touched her inappropriately, and made her victim of hazing, in addition to being raped by an unnamed member of the team.

Hnida has spoken to Boulder police about the incident, but says that she is unlikely to press charges.

Barnett made the controversial comments in a press conference immediately after the details of the interview had been made public Tuesday.

"It was obvious Katie was not very good," Barnett said. "She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."

Hoffman said that Barnett's comments were devoid of the concern a man in his position should have for a woman making such serious accusations towards a member of his program.

"What he said was extremely inappropriate and insensitive," Hoffman said. "Rape is a horrific allegation and it should be taken seriously."

Barnett clarified late Wednesday, saying that his comments were manipulated.

"I sincerely regret that my remarks being misinterpreted or taken out of context," Barnett told the media outside of his office late Wednesday night. "I'm very sensitive to Katie's needs… I'm a team player and I accept President Hoffman's decision even though I don't agree with it. I will take it like I would expect one of my players to."

University Athletic Director Richard Tharp issued a statement just prior to Barnett's Wednesday, further distancing the school from its coach.

"Let me emphasize that Coach Barnett's recent remarks do not reflect the athletic department's commitment to successful participation by female athletes in intercollegiate competition," Tharp said through his statement. "In the coming days, I will meet with Coach Barnett and members of the coaching staff and the football team to jointly develop a plan for moving forward during this period."

Barnett's suspension is the latest casualty at a school that's been hit with an almost daily barrage of accusations against its football program, including three other reported rapes and alcohol-fueled sex parties for recruits.

School officials are looking into specific instances of recruiting practices and are hiring a special assistant to oversee athletics, but the allegations have not stopped. A player admitted taking a recruit to a strip club, while a former recruiting aide said he used a school cell phone to call an escort service for his personal use.

Barnett has coached CU to a 34-28 record in five seasons in Boulder, and he is 77-84-2 in the 14 years he's been at the helm of a Division-I program. He led the Buffs to a Big 12 title in 2001, and his 1995 Northwestern team finished 10-2, won the Big Ten and advanced to the Rose Bowl.


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