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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As If the University of Colorado Football Situation Couldn't Get Any Worse

This affair knows no limits.

You have to check out the sworn deposition testimony of U. of Colorado President Betsy Hoffman in the sexual harassment case surrounding the Buffaloes' football program. This whole sad saga has had its bizarre moments, but this one tops them all.

The testimony involves the use of a horrible slur that denigrates women and President Hoffman's interpretation of that slur (President Hoffman said that the term could be used in an endearing fashion; to open up a gas can on this inferno, a University spokesman defended Hoffman's statement because of Hoffman's background as a medievalist). Thanks to ESPN to bringing this to light, and thanks to Mike Greenberg and Sean Salisbury of "Mike & Mike in the Morning" for taking the university president to task on no uncertain terms.

Rightly or wrongly, the University of Colorado has decided to reinstate head football coach Gary Barnett. This decision did not come without a significant amount of reflection, and only time will tell whether the university acted wisely. Many coaches would not have received a second chance here, so I hope that Coach Barnett realizes how fortunate he is and what example he and his players must set from now on.

But what will Betsy Hoffman's fate be?

Think of yourself as an alumnus, like Rick Reilly, who wrote of his shame in his column in SI, after the football recruiting scandal broke. Think of yourself as a parent of a high school senior who is thinking of applying to the University of Colorado. Think of yourself as a parent of a current undergraduate.

Is this the type of leadership you want your kids to follow? Would you trust this college president to stand up and do the right thing in the face of this type of situation or another crisis?

University presidents (and universities themselves) must be held to higher standards. If I were a citizen of Colorado, I'd be concerned about the type of operation they're running in Boulder.

And I'd ask for a new leader.


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