University of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett was put on paid administrative leave last night after university president Betsy Hoffman said she was “utterly distressed” by a police report that describes Barnett as siding “100 percent” with a player accused of rape. The Denver Post says that Hoffman also cited comments Barnett made about former CU place-kicker Katie Hnida, another of the five women who have alleged sexual assault by CU football players or recruits.
“Our decision was based on coach Barnett’s recent remarks about former student Katie Hnida’s athletic abilities,” Hoffman said. “His remarks about her were extremely inappropriate and insensitive. Rape is a horrific allegation, and it should be taken seriously.” After Hnida went public with the allegation, Barnett called the former CU Buffalo a “terrible” kicker who “couldn’t kick the ball through the uprights.”
Barnett said there were “some inaccuracies” in a 2001 Boulder Police Department report on allegations from another woman who says a player raped her that Barnett told her if she pursued criminal charges he would side with the player.
CU-Boulder chancellor Richard Byyny said that Barnett never notified senior CU officials about the rape charge and that he should have. Barnett will remain on paid leave until April 30, when an independent panel convened by the CU Board of Regents is expected to finish an inquiry into the football team’s recruiting practices.