University cell phone used to call escorts

DENVER -- In another blow at a school reeling from scandal,
the University of Colorado said Friday that calls were placed to an
escort service from a cellular telephone once assigned to a
football recruiting assistant.

The school, which is investigating whether its football program
used sex and alcohol to entice recruits, said the calls were made
on a phone assigned to Nathan Maxcey, who worked in the program
from June 2002 to July 2003.

There is no evidence suggesting the calls were made for recruits
or Colorado athletes, university spokeswoman Pauline Hale said. But
she said the investigation was ongoing and that details uncovered
so far had been turned over to police.

"It would be an inappropriate use of a university cell phone,"
Hale said.

Maxcey told KCNC-TV of Denver the calls had "nothing to do with
the coaching staff, recruits or school funds."

"It was for my own private use in the privacy of my own
apartment," he told KUSA-TV of Denver. He told the station that
accusations linking the escort service to CU coaches or recruits
were "a blatant lie."

Maxcey was employed at the University of Utah until recently,
officials there said. His did not return a message left for him at
the school by The Associated Press.

Police in Broomfield, near the Boulder campus, are investigating
whether there is a link between the Colorado athletics department
and an escort service. Police did not return a call seeking

The university was plunged into scandal two weeks ago when
Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan accused the state's
flagship school of using alcohol-fueled sex parties to land top
football recruits. The claim came in one of three federal lawsuits
filed by women who say they were raped by athletes at or just after
an off-campus recruiting party in 2001.

Keenan has since reopened a criminal investigation that was
suspended without assault charges years ago. The governor has
warned the school to shape up and the school is assembling an
independent commission to investigate. The scandal also helped
prompt the NCAA to form a task force to investigate recruiting
practices nationwide.

University officials have denied the claims, but there has been
a string of embarrassing accusations. A Denver businessman said athletes from
Colorado and schools in other states have hired his strippers for
years, calling it a tradition akin to a bachelor party.

The escort service claim surfaced a week ago. At the time,
football operations director David Hansburg said a woman had raised
the allegation in a telephone call to him in which she also asked
for help getting a job.

"As we have stated repeatedly, we remain steadfast in our
commitment to investigate these allegations," university President
Elizabeth Hoffman and Chancellor Richard Byyny said in a statement.
"We will take swift, decisive and appropriate action upon the
receipt of credible information."

Regina Cowles, president of Boulder chapter of the National
Organization of Women, said the escort service calls were not

"It is more of the same from the university and the athletic
department," she said. "They need to start taking responsibility
and admitting they have a problem."

The Board of Regents will meet Monday to choose the rest of the
commission that will investigate the scandal.

"We need to quickly resolve not only this new allegation but
other things that are out there," Regent Jim Martin said.

In another development, Boulder County officials said they are
checking to see whether more than a dozen Colorado athletes
improperly performed community service by lifting weights.

Among the players are four football players who pleaded guilty
to providing alcohol to a minor at the 2001 party. Each was ordered
to perform 36 hours of community service.

The review was sparked by a deposition former assistant coach
E.J. "Doc" Kreis gave in which he talked about a community
service outreach program he ran.

Kreis said players could demonstrate, coach, teach or instruct
weight training and that he would sign letters saying the athletes
had performed community service.

"It made us curious as to whether the hours were actually
performed, so we opened a review of the cases," said Joe Thome,
Boulder County's community justice services division manager.

The review should be complete in about a week, Thome said.