BOULDER - The University of Colorado suspended four football players Saturday for violations that included one player taking a recruit to a strip club.
The violations came to light during a mandatory team meeting on news that police in neighboring Broomfield are investigating allegations that CU’s football program hired an escort service for recruits in 2002 and 2003. The accusations are the latest against the football program, accused of using sex and alcohol-fueled parties to entice recruits. The university denies the allegations, and regents have appointed an independent commission to investigate. Football coach Gary Barnett said in a statement that players denied the claims about the escort service but did admit to other infractions. Barnett said that linebacker Chris Hollis, offensive lineman Brian Daniels, offensive lineman Jack Tipton and cornerback Sammy Joseph will not play in the season-opener against Colorado State University. Barnett learned Friday that Hollis took a recruit to an 18-and-older strip club in Boulder. There was no underage drinking, and the recruit was back to his hotel room in time for curfew at 12:30 a.m., Barnett said. The three other players were suspended for conduct that violated team rules, including one alcohol violation, Barnett said. The violations were related to recruiting activities, but no other details were released. Athletic department spokesman Dave Plati declined to comment about the suspensions. The alcohol violation will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs, Barnett said. “We are pleased that the three players came forth with this new information and that the coach took swift action,” said a statement from CU President Elizabeth Hoffman and Chancellor Richard Byyny. “We continue to evaluate other information we have received and will take swift, decisive and appropriate action upon the receipt of credible information,” the statement said. Colorado’s flagship university has been caught in a firestorm since depositions surfaced last week about a December 2001 off-campus party in Boulder attended by football players and recruits. Three women who say they were raped at or just after the party sued the school, saying it fostered a hostile environment for women in violation of federal gender equity laws. Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan declined to file rape charges but said in a deposition leaked to reporters she thought sex was used to lure recruits and that athletics officials had ignored her demands to crack down. Keenan has appointed investigators to re-examine allegations stemming from the party.