Liaison DiBiaggio Encouraged After First Day

<b>John DiBiaggio</b>, the man hired by the University of Colorado to assist its diminished athletic department amidst its current scandal and oversee changes to its practices and policies, met with several CU officials Friday and says he is encouraged by the attitude and reception of the department.

"I just wanted to get a sense of whether there was going to be any stonewalling going on, but I didn't sense any of that," DiBiaggio said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press Saturday. "There was a great deal of openness, transparency, a willingness to share with me anything I wanted: records or people."

The former president of Tufts, Michigan State and Connecticut universities added that such assurances were vital to his accepting the position, which was confirmed earlier this week by the University Board of Regents.

For his assistance, the University has said they will match any salary DiBiaggio received while at any of his former positions as president of the other universities for as long as any internal investigations are in the works, most probably for at least two months. All told, he is earning about $21,000 per month and was offered a housing allowance.

DiBiaggio has been assigned to study the culture of the department and will report directly to University President Betsy Hoffman and CU-Boulder Chancellor Richard Byyny, who will help him determine how to improve its integration into the campus and the City of Boulder.

"Apparently, there's lots of protocol already in place," he said. "The question, I think, to determine will be how carefully is it being followed and whether there are real efforts to monitor what is going on."

Despite his decidedly pronounced presence in Boulder in the coming months, DiBiaggio says he had no input or influence in the department-wide recruiting changes the University announced earlier this week, but is encouraged by them nonetheless. "It's a good first step," he said. "People in the athletics department said they played a role and that shows they were sincere and moving in the right direction."

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