Friday, December 07, 2007

Buffaloed


We ain't goin' for this
They say that I stole this
Can I get a witness?

CU President Hank Brown settled the lawsuit brought against the school by two women who said they were sexually assaulted by football recruits this past week. The total settlement was 2.85 million dollars.

Brown, as slick but fair politician as there’s been around here, faced massive pressure from both sides prior to the settlement. He’ll be outgoing as President in 2008 and this is perhaps his last major act as the leader of the state’s flagship university. The reality, whether right or not, in the time we live in is that public image sometimes means more than standing up for something you seriously believe. In this case, the CU admin knew that they had done no wrong in this case, yet a prolonged trial would’ve further sullied the University’s reputation.

What happened on that night in December 2007 was almost something you’d see out of a Cinemax grade B late night flick: massive underage drinking and lurid sex with multiple partners. Slowly it falsely started to leak out, carefully orchestrated by a public relations firm in bed with a football-hating DA; the football team had arranged this party, the head coach signed off on it; there was a culture of sex, drugs, drinking and wrong in the Athletic Department.

Young men’s lives were ruined, an entire University’s good name was desecrated by an overzealous DA, the hungry mediafor a juicy story , and even a gutless governor who by job title should protect one of his state’s most valuable assets.

In the end there were zero- zero- criminal charges filed against the young men. The NCAA determined that there was no wrong doing also. The University moved swiftly, shedding the President, the Chancellor, the Athletic Director, numerous football assistants and staffers. The head coach stuck around, but his main reason for no longer being there was losing to Texas and Nebraska.

Six years later the chapter is finally closed. CU had the choice to go to trial and fight. At what cost? Lawyer fees that are already in seven figures would’ve doubled, the young men and a honorable coach’s names would’ve once again been attached to this distasteful night. And CU’s good name would’ve been front page, ESPN, and website fodder as the shocking details of that night came out in a court of law.

When the judge’s gavel finally would’ve struck, it could’ve been nearly a decade since the incidents and a decade worth of damage. Was that worth saving face? Apparently Brown and the regents thought not. Now, the University must move on; a new President will enter Boulder without this mess behind, fundraising can proceed, and people can attempt to move on in their lives.
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SG recommends the Bruce Plaskett’s “Buffaloed: How Race, Gender and Media Bias Fueled a Season of Scandal,” for the utmost breakdown on what happened throughout the “scandal” in Boulder.

CHECK Gary Barnett's response to the settlement

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