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Faculty calls program 'intolerable'

BOULDER, Colo. -- Saying the situation has become
"intolerable," University of Colorado faculty suggested an
overhaul of the embattled athletics department Thursday that
includes tying coaches' jobs to the academic performance of
players.

The Boulder Faculty Assembly said there needs to be more
academic control of athletic teams. It said athletes' academic
performance should be part of annual reviews for coaches, and that
all athletic department responsibilities should fall under the
chancellor.

The faculty group voted unanimously to approve a report calling
for the changes.

"Their recommendations will be carefully considered among
others emerging from the various reviews now underway," Chancellor
Richard Byyny said.

Among the suggestions are requiring athletes to meet the same
admissions standards as other students, involving faculty members
more actively in recruiting and limiting the number of scholarships
for teams with poor academic performance and graduation rates.

The proposal also calls for an Athletics Governing Board that
would search for and hire head coaches and the athletic director.

Fifty-three percent of Colorado football players graduated
within six years, a 2003 NCAA report found. That is a lower rate
than the graduation rate of 62 percent for student-athletes at all
Division I schools and 67 percent for all students at CU.

The rate for Colorado football players, however, is high enough
to pass a proposed NCAA standard to be eligible for postseason
play.

"Unfortunately, intercollegiate athletics has come to operate
almost independently of the academic enterprise and has become
dismissive of the primary mission of the institution," the faculty
proposal says. "This is an intolerable situation."

The football program was plunged into scandal earlier this year
as details leaked out from civil lawsuits filed against the school
by three women who say they were raped by football athletes in
2001.

In one deposition, Boulder County prosecutor Mary Keenan said
sex and alcohol are used to entice recruits to the Boulder campus.
Five other women have also accused football athletes of rape since
1997, though no charges have been filed.

The university, a Board of Regents' panel and the state attorney
general are all investigating the allegations. The school has
already made sweeping changes to its football recruiting program,
including limiting the visits by recruits, adding chaperones and
putting in an 11 p.m. curfew believed to be the strictest in the
nation.

The faculty also proposed shorter seasons and practice times so
athletes have more time for academics.