"We're always disappointed when players choose to leave our program," Barnett said in a released statement Tuesday. "I anticipate all three will wind up transferring to schools closer to their homes."
But Barnett was not available for further comment, and a CU athletic department spokesperson could not confirm whether or not the three players had been granted releases from their scholarships.
Running back Brian Calhoun expressed the intention to transfer from CU last month to then interim head coach Brian Cabral. But the decision was made inside the athletic department to wait until Barnett – who was on administrative leave since Feb. 18 – had the opportunity to speak with any players wishing to transfer before granting any releases. Barnett was reinstated on May 27, and said shortly thereafter that he wanted to speak with Calhoun and his parents before granting a release. According to CU sports information director Dave Plati, that meeting hasn't yet happened.
Barnett said in a radio interview on 1190 KVCU Monday that the reason Joseph was leaving had to do with the atmosphere he encountered on campus as a black student athlete. Two of his teammates were in recent months cleared of sexual assault allegations through DNA testing. The two players became suspects after the alleged victim told police she remembered talking with two young men who were "big and black" at a bar the night before she claims she was drugged and raped.
All four players leaving the program were members of the 2002 recruiting class. Joseph and Calhoun were starters for the Buffs last season.
Scales and Staugh, both from Flower Mound, Texas, were backups at split and tight guard, respectively. Scales saw action in two games for eight total plays, while Staugh did not get into a game.
Joseph is from Marrero, La. His brother, Vance, was the defensive backs coach at CU last season, but took a similar position at Bowling Green in April.
In order for a student athlete on scholarship to be eligible for athletic competition at another school after transferring, he must be released from his scholarship by the first school.