CU Student-Athletes Speak Out

On behalf of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the peer leadership group of CU student-athletes comprised of representatives from each varsity sport, as well as each individual student-athlete, I (Karl Allis) feel the need to address the situation that has plagued us this winter. In regards to the current frenzy of media that has put an inordinate amount of attention on the University of Colorado and its student-athletes.

We wish to detail not only how the last few weeks have affected us, but to shed some light about what we hope can be some changes in the public response.

For the local media around Boulder, many of you know that the varsity sports program at CU consists of 17 sports ranging from skiing to soccer and over 360 men and women athletes. Yet one of the biggest things being overlooked about this group of people is both the diversity and the family atmosphere. There might not be another major university in the country where harmonious relationships are developed among people of a different gender, race, class, ethnicity; not to mention how each individual has his or her own personality and perspective on the world.

Nonetheless, when we as athletes see that someone from our assemblage is being consistently bashed, not only does it affect that individual, but every single student-athlete as well as the entire student body is compromised as well. It is our duty as high-profile members of the community to demonstrate through the honor instilled upon us that when evaluated, the individual should not be judged by the group, nor should the group be judged by the individual. This kind of allegorical thinking demeans the value of our hard work, a personal triumph to each. Yet this is not viewed that way by the public.

We are all targets now, having to answer to things we had no part in or had no knowledge of, and as a result we are scrutinized on and off the field. To hear that our men's golf team was heckled while playing in a tournament in Arizona is not only upsetting, but it is hateful as well. While we understand that everyone is free to their opinion, the publishing of unsubstantiated rumors is very often taken for truth by the general audience. Therein lies the problem. It should not even have to be stated, but we do not condone misbehavior by athletes in any of our sports. It is contrary to everything we have been taught. When and if it occurs, it is an embarrassment to the team, the athletic department, and the university. It also betrays the trust that all of our fans and supporters have placed in us. We are also very sympathetic and concerned for anyone, especially a fellow student, who has been a victim of misbehavior by a student-athlete. Even so, the increased attention resulting from allegations have put a dark cloud over the experience of being a student and an athlete at CU. These are supposed to be the best years of our lives, yet our era is now defined as troubling by the public eye. Unfortunately, this is a large amount of people—people who could one day see "University of Colorado student" on a resume and immediately think the worst thoughts.

Fortunately throughout this ordeal, we are still a bonded community of student-athletes. For those unfamiliar to this community, we want to convey the message that we fully stand behind one another. We will be quick to give support to fellow players and coaches because that is how we have always conducted ourselves. Not only that, but when the gossip about the University of Colorado is exacerbated, you begin to bring down all of college athletics, something we have collectively put in millions of hours of our lives in devotion.

We hope that the hurtful rumors lessen so that we can uninterruptedly get an education and play our sport. It is our belief that because of the sensitivity to so many people involved in this, that peacefully, we should let justice do its work and move on. Thank you.


Karl Allis, SAAC representative
for the University of Colorado Student-Athletes

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