Former head coach calls settlement ‘unfair act of injustice’ on his personal Web site
Lisa Simpson and Anne Gilmore are celebrating today after Wednesday’s Title IX suit settlement with CU, however, former head coach Gary Barnett is taking the news a little differently.
The university was “held hostage” by two women who alleged they were raped by CU football players, Barnett wrote on his personal Web site Wednesday.
Barnett commented on CU’s decision to settle with Simpson and Gilmore for a combined $2.85 million.
“It is hard to believe that we live in a society where allegations have enough clout to hold a wonderful and well respected university hostage,” he wrote.
Simpson and Gilmore sued the university for Title IX discrimination, stemming from an incident at a 2001 recruiting party. They alleged they were raped at the party and that the university condoned similar parties, subsequently creating an environment hostile to women.
“The settlement of this case for money just means that the athletic department, the football program and to a larger extent the University of Colorado will never have their day in court,” Barnett wrote. “Only the premature ‘court of public opinion’ gets heard.”
Throughout his written statement, Barnett emphasized that no players have had criminal charges filed against them.
“We trust that people will see that allegations without proof and statements without substance have brought a media firestorm that carried on for seven years without charges being filed or any students having the opportunity to tell their story in court,” he wrote.
Barnett, who coached at CU from 1999 to 2005, was a central figure in the turmoil surrounding the football program.
He came under heavy fire for his role in the recruiting parties, improper accounting at his football camps and later for comments made about former walk-on place kicker Katie Hnida.
Hnida said she was frequently sexually harassed by teammates while playing for Barnett before saying she was ultimately raped by a teammate in 1999.
“Well, it was obvious that Katie was not that good,” Barnett said in a press conference at the Dal Ward Athletic Center in Feb. 2004. “She was awful, OK. Katie was a girl, and not only was she a girl, she was terrible. And there is no other way to say it. She couldn’t kick the ball through the uprights.”
Barnett was suspended through the summer for those comments, but returned to coach two more seasons.
His contract was bought out for $3 million after back-to-back losses of 30-3 to Nebraska and 70-3 to Texas in the 2005 Big 12 Championship.
Despite losing his job, Barnett left Boulder on good terms with the CU athletic department, athletics spokesman David Plati said.
After he was officially released, the coach remained to help current head football coach Dan Hawkins transition into coaching at CU.
“Gary is free to speak on his own,” Plati said, declining to comment further.
Barnett currently lives in Denver and works as a sports commentator. He could not be reached; he did not return a phone call placed to his home.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Justin Coons at email@example.com.