Gary Barnett's summer football camp. In an interview with the Buffalo Sports News, Barnett answers the charges of using any funds for any illicit purposes. And, despite mounting pressure from politicians for him to resign or be fired, Barnett says he's not going anywhere."> Gary Barnett's summer football camp. In an interview with the Buffalo Sports News, Barnett answers the charges of using any funds for any illicit purposes. And, despite mounting pressure from politicians for him to resign or be fired, Barnett says he's not going anywhere.">

Barnett Answers 'Slush Fund' Charge

Last week, a leaked Grand Jury report concerning an investigation into the CU football program raised concerns about what it termed a $780,000 "slush fund" coming from <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1411355]>Gary Barnett</A>'s summer football camp. In an interview with the Buffalo Sports News, Barnett answers the charges of using any funds for any illicit purposes. And, despite mounting pressure from politicians for him to resign or be fired, Barnett says he's not going anywhere.

Buffalo Sports News: Tell me about the Gary Barnett Football Technique Camp. Is that part of your compensation package with CU?
Gary Barnett:
I get contracted to do a camp. I get a salary for that. I could have six people come over to my backyard and call it a camp and that's all I would have to do to receive my end of the salary.

Because, obviously, I'm not going to do that, I'm going to put on a first class camp, we rent facilities from the University of Colorado. We rent dorm space, we pay for meals, we have to rent equipment. We get a lot of bills from the university, so we have a pretty large camp bill.

What we do is then collect money from the campers. We then disperse that money that we collect to pay the bills. That includes high school coaches, it includes anybody else that we hire to come in. We try to keep a one-to-10 ratio of coaches to campers.

We have a lot of other expenses, such as advertising, printing of brochures. We provide meals for the people that work the camp.

The proceeds that go to the coaches and everybody else that works the camp is all based pretty much on how many campers come.

(From a competitive standpoint), many of the coaches in Division I are making anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 on summer camps. If we don't have the numbers (of campers providing revenue), or in our case, because our expenses are so high, I end up out of my pocket putting money into the camp so that our coaches can get a decent amount of money out of it. I generally pay for the advertising for the camp. I put as much money in there as I feel I need to put in out of my pocket to provide our coaches with a decent check that comes out of it.

BSN: When you say coaches make from $3,000 to $12,000 on summer camps, are you talking about assistants who teach at summer camps?
GB:
Yeah. If you go to Michigan's camp, a coach at Michigan may earn $12,000 to $15,000 for a camp. Our coaches make somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 for a camp. So it's pretty competitive. When you recruit a coach, it can become part of the compensation package that attracts them.

The expenses for us to hold a camp at the University of Colorado are extremely high. Therefore the amount of money that we collect from campers, I have to subsidize that in order to provide any kind of salaries for our coaches.

BSN: Typically, how many campers do you have come through in a summer?
GB:
We'll have anywhere from 200 to 400 kids, 8 to 12-years-old. We'll have anywhere from 200 to 500 high school kids. Then we'll have another 1,300 on Jamborees (shorter workshops). But the Jamborees, we have no overnight expenses. Our expenses come from the overnight campers.

BSN: In this leaked Grand Jury report, this $780,000, what is that number referring to?
GB:
That's a combination of what we get in camp fees and what I have put into the camp out of my own pocket. And over four years, that's about what it's cost us to put on the camps; about $185,000 a year.

BSN: The media reports have the Grand Jury saying it was over two years.
GB:
I know. We believe that number should be four.

BSN: How did the Grand Jury know about the $780,000? Where did they come up with that number?
GB:
That's from deposit slips. They had all of our deposits.

BSN: The term "slush fund" was used in the GJ report. That implies some kind of illicit thing. But you're saying you have documentation for all of these expenditures. The salaries, rental expenses, meals, overnight expenses, etc.
GB:
All those things. Sure we do. We were not requested to provide the 1099s. We were only requested to provide the checks. So they only had half the information. So a judgment was made after having just half the information.

BSN: So the Grand Jury never asked you for the 1099s, which document how the $780,000 was spent?
GB:
That's accurate.

BSN: Another part of this was the lock boxes, or cash boxes. The way it sounds from the GJ report is that there are 16 or 17 boxes full of cash in a room in Dal Ward somewhere.
GB:
(laughs) Well, it's a pretty simple procedure. We have two days of registration at four different sites. We have another table that sells parking passes, we have another table that checks out equipment. We have a check-out station.

What happens is after the first day of registration, a lot of the day campers pay in cash, or whatever, and we take that money. We count the cash box before it goes out, we count the cash box after deposits. We make out deposit slips and deposit it in the bank in the next day.

We lock it up in David Hansburg's office overnight. We check it before we take it and deposit it the next day, and the bank checks the deposits. We run a very legitimate operation. It's no different than anybody else's camp where there's a registration and someone pays a registration fee.

It's deposited after each day of registration. We have another one for check-out because we have to make refunds. We have to make change.

Overnight on two different nights is the only time there would be any money in our building, and it's counted before we put it in there and it's counted before it goes to the bank.

BSN: The football camp is undergoing an audit right now?
GB:
That's correct. We've provided all the documentation that they've asked for and I've provided documentation of my own personal finances.

BSN: Have you ever given money to players or recruits, your own personal money or some kind of athletic department money?
GB:
Absolutely not. Not ever, nor will we.

BSN: Have you ever instructed a subordinate to do that?
GB:
Absolutely not, and I never will.

BSN: There's a perception out there. I want to read you this quote from Bill O'Reilly from March 3 on his TV show "The O'Reilly Factor." He's talking to Dan Caplis and a Denver Post writer about President Hoffman. This is before she announced her resignation, and Hoffman is the "she" O'Reilly is talking about.

O'Reilly: "And now she's saying that the scandal, this $800,000 slush fun, which we know exists, it's alumni giving money to the football team, go by your recruits, take them to strip clubs, do what you have to do. And she's not going to answer questions about it?

GB: I don't know all the legal terminology, but that's slanderous.

BSN: That was going to be my question. In the past year, have you had conversations with your lawyer about possibly suing anyone for libel or slander?
GB:
Every time I read one of these things that is a half-truth, a mistruth or someone that shoots first and asks questions later, every time I ask if there's a libel suit or slander suit. Each time he says because it's the media you can't do anything about it. I don't know. In my book of laws, that's slanderous.

I just wish that we had a recourse. I wish I could make him stand up and apologize after he searches out the truth. It's a sad state of affairs in this country when people can just say those things and move on to the next day and have no repercussions.

BSN: Are you prepared to continue riding out this storm, so to speak?
GB:
Absolutely.

BSN: Tell me why? Some people are wondering ‘How much heat can he take?' It looked like the worst was over, but then you wake up today and a group of politicians are calling for your firing.
GB:
You know what? As long as I have a chance to get to the truth. As long as there's a legal system and we don't throw that out. As long as it exists, then I'm staying on this horse.

It's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for my players. It's the right thing to do for their parents, for this program. And for the next guy that gets put in this position. Because if everybody just caves in, then we erode all principals.

How could I stand in front of my players and tell them to do the right thing (if I resigned)? If I walk away from this thing, then I've given up on the right thing.

BSN: You will have hired a couple of assistant coaches in the last couple months. In interviewing candidates and talking with their references, what is the perception about all of this you've run into among the football community?
GB:
The perception is that the state of Colorado doesn't care about the University of Colorado. And the administration doesn't care about our football program, and we live in a wacky place in Boulder. That's the perception.

BSN: Do you see a light at the end of this tunnel?
GB:
You know what, I ain't lookin' for the light. I'm looking for the hole that goes out the other side. Whether there's a light there or not, we'll make one eventually.


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