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Panel wanted firings in Colorado case

BOULDER, Colo. -- Five of the eight members of an independent commission that investigated the football recruiting scandal at the University of Colorado said top administrators should have been fired, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The panelists told the Denver Post they stopped short of making that recommendation in their report because they wanted unanimous support.

The commission's report said university administrators did not know sex, drugs, and alcohol were being used by player-hosts to entice recruits to play at the university, but their report blasted top administrators for lax oversight of the athletic department.

President Betsy Hoffman, Boulder campus chancellor Richard Byyny, athletic director Richard Tharp, and coach Gary Barnett were criticized in the report, which said the safety of students had been compromised. All four will keep their jobs.

"Some people need to go and the people I would point to are [Tharp and Byyny] -- the ones who have been there the longest," said Peggy Lamm, a former state legislator who served as the panel's co-chair.

Two members told the Post that personnel changes were up to the university. Another, former state legislator Joyce Lawrence, did not respond to the newspaper.

Barnett, whom the report said was resistant to change, was reinstated Thursday after a three-month suspension over comments he made about two alleged assaults. Tharp, the report said, "evaded and ignored repeated directives to implement policy changes" and maintained a facade of "plausible deniability."Some commissioners said they believe the regents created the panel to buy time and keep Governor Bill Owens and state lawmakers from conducting their own investigation. "My general sense is that they weren't very interested in what we said," said commissioner Jean Dubofsky, a former Colorado Supreme Court justice.

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