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Thursday, December 8, 2005
Colorado investigates more allegations news services

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado has asked school attorneys to review an unsigned letter that makes allegations of improper conduct against embattled football coach Gary Barnett, a university spokeswoman said Thursday.

Some of the allegations in the letter, which was first reported by the Rocky Mountain News, have already been investigated, spokeswoman Michelle McKinney said. She said the attorneys are trying to determine whether any of them warrant further investigation.

"It is an anonymous letter, so there is some caution on how you approach this," McKinney said. "Several investigations the university has been subjected to have looked at these allegations. If there are any allegations that our legal counsel believe were not full investigated, we do intend to thoroughly look into them."

Among the unproven allegations forwarded to the school in October:

• Barnett tried to influence testimony in depositions and to the grand jury;

• The team sometimes had 10 coaches on the sideline, in violation of NCAA rules allowing only nine;

• Football players were forewarned about random drug tests;

• Barnett failed to discipline players and said in another instance that everything had been done to protect a player;

• Questions about the handling of money, particularly from football camps.

A spokesmen for Barnett did not immediately return a phone call Thursday.

The letter was disclosed amid speculation that Barnett will soon lose his job because his team lost three straight games by a combined score of 130-22. Barnett survived the recruiting scandal last year, although the university's president, chancellor and athletic director resigned in its aftermath. Two investigations looked into allegations of misbehavior, including rape, but the only criminal charge involved the misuse of a university-issued cell phone by an aide. Investigators also said sex, drugs and alcohol were available for recruits, though no school official knowingly condoned it.

Steven Snyder, a private investigator who worked for a regents-backed independent commission that looked into the scandal, told the News he received the anonymous letter in October and turned it over to CU President Hank Brown.

Snyder said his work for the commission ended in mid-2004 but he continues to receive tips about the university. He said he did not act on most them because he did not consider them serious, but he thought university officials should see the unsigned letter.

Brown told the News he also gave copies of the letter to state and federal prosecutors. McKinney said she could not confirm that. Spokesmen for the prosecutors declined to comment.

In November, state auditors said The University of Colorado's fund-raising foundation paid more than $700,000 in questionable expenses, failed to adequately ensure that donations were spent where donors wanted and made poor choices in accepting some contributions, state auditors said Tuesday, prompting CU officials to promise changes.

In a report released to lawmakers, auditors criticized CU Foundation expenditures of $606,600 for food and catering, $94,000 for flowers and gifts, about $15,200 for alcohol and $1,600 for limousine services.

It was the first comprehensive, independent audit of the 38-year-old foundation, auditors said. Former CU President Elizabeth Hoffman asked for the audit in November 2004 after a statewide grand jury report was leaked to some news organizations.

The grand jury report included questions about numerous unexplained transactions involving CU, the foundation and two football camps run by Barnett. A separate state audit of those camps is scheduled to be released Tuesday. Barnett has denied any wrongdoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.