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Ex-Colorado kicker given extra year to play

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA granted an extra year of
eligibility Friday to place-kicker Katie Hnida, who transferred to
New Mexico and later alleged she had been raped by a former
Colorado teammate.

Hnida was on Colorado's roster in 1999 as a walk-on but never
got into a game. She transferred to New Mexico in 2002 and last
year became the first woman to score in a Division I football game
when she kicked two extra points in a 72-8 win over Texas State-San
Marcos.

The NCAA said the eligibility waiver, requested by New Mexico,
was granted because she was unable to play for two years for
medical reasons. She was out as a freshman in 1999 because of
mononucleosis and missed the next season because of severe
infections in her throat and tonsils that required surgery.

"No other outside factors were considered in the national
office staff analysis in granting this request," the NCAA said in
a statement.

Last month, Hnida told Sports Illustrated she was raped by a
Colorado teammate in 2000. Coach Gary Barnett was placed on leave
Feb. 18 after criticizing Hnida's athletic ability.

Federal lawsuits have been filed by three women who allege they
were raped by Colorado football players or recruits at or just
after a 2001 off-campus party. In all, at least eight women have
accused Colorado players or recruits of sexual assault since 1997,
though no charges have been filed.

The Colorado Board of Regents and the Colorado attorney general
are investigating the cases and the university has made sweeping
changes in its recruiting program.