Philadelphia NCAA Hearing Wraps Up

PHILADELPHIA - The NCAA completed its interview process into 53 alleged violations of the University of Colorado football program here Friday, as six representatives of the school answered questions and had the chance to follow up, in person, its 900-page response submitted in June.

Representing CU were Boulder campus chancellor Richard Byyny, athletic director Dick Tharp, football coach Gary Barnett, associate AD for compliance Karen Morrison, assistant football coach Brian Cabral and director of equipment Mike Smith. Former CU head football coach Rick Neuheisel, now at Washington, was also in attendance. Fifty-one of the alleged infractions occurred during Neuheisel's tenure between 1995 and 1998; Barnett took over in January, 1999.

Byyny issued the following statement upon the completion of Friday's 11-plus hour session:

"While we would not have chosen to be the subject of an NCAA hearing on rules infractions, I believe this experience has been a valuable opportunity for us to examine our policies and practices and to seek ways of further improvement.

"Throughout today's hearing, I found the members of the Committee on Infractions to be fair, thorough, and well-prepared. The members asked thoughtful questions that sought to enlighten and clarify. We appreciated the opportunity to provide an overview of our official response to the Letter of Inquiry and to respond to specific questions. We also were pleased that the NCAA staff had modified the allegation of "lack of institutional control" to a possible 'failure to monitor,' a lesser charge.

"In my remarks to the Committee, I shared my conclusion from the investigation that no major violations of NCAA Bylaws occurred, although there were a disturbing number of secondary violations during the period being reviewed.

"Although I do not believe these secondary violations gave the University an advantage in recruiting, I strongly believe that any non-compliance and questionable activities must stop. In fact, we already have taken action to make sure they have stopped by improving our monitoring systems and reiterating our strong position on compliance. We hope the NCAA Committee on Infractions will agree that these actions meet the expectations for full compliance now and in the future."

While Byyny noted that NCAA staff had modified the allegation of "lack of institutional control" to a possible "failure to monitor" the football program, the Committee on Infractions has the final say on such a consideration. Byyny and Tharp thought it would take 4-6 weeks before CU hears on the final ruling from the NCAA.

The group was to return to Boulder late Friday evening, and with the hearing going late into the day, Barnett and Cabral missed a second straight series of meetings with the football team. Both are expected at Saturday's 7:15 a.m. practice.

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