Failure to Report

Colorado chancellor suspended 10 days for not telling authorities of allegations of domestic violence by assistant coach. Athletics director, head coach ordered to each pay $100,000.

June 13, 2017
Philip P. DiStefano

The University of Colorado Board of Regents announced Monday that Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of the Boulder campus, would be suspended without pay for 10 days for his failure to report to authorities an allegation of domestic violence made against an assistant football coach.

The university released a report that faulted the chancellor for failing to report the allegations to the relevant office at the university, and also to outside law enforcement.

The university also announced that Rick George, the athletics director, and Mike MacIntyre, the head football coach, had each been ordered to pay $100,000 to a domestic violence organization for their failure to report the allegations, which were of repeated severe physical and verbal abuse. The allegations were first made to MacIntyre, who shared them with DiStefano and George.

The outside report issued by the university's Board of Regents characterized the university officials' failure to report as a question of mistakes. "Bad intent" is not required to find the officials failed in their responsibilities, the report said, and it did not charge that bad intent was at play in the situation. Rather, the report suggests that the men were not aware of or focused on their responsibilities to the woman who reported the violence to the football coach.

Others have suggested a motivation, denied by the university, that its failure to act enabled the assistant coach to participate in a bowl game. After the allegations became public, after the bowl game, the assistant coach, Joe Tumpkin, was suspended and resigned. Tumpkin was subsequently charged with five felony assaults.

Many details of the case were first reported in a February article by Sports Illustrated, which attracted considerable attention to the situation.

DiStefano and the two athletic officials each issued statements Monday accepting the punishments and responsibility for what they failed to do.

In his statement, DiStefano said that he proposed his punishment, and that he realized his errors of judgment. "In recent years I have … insisted that every member of the university community commit to our effort to end sexual misconduct and violence. As hard as it is to say, I did not live up to these standards, and I regret it. I am committed to making CU Boulder a campus where women, and everyone, feel valued, respected and safe."

He said he asked the university to donate the salary he will not receive for 10 days to a group that fights domestic violence.

In the investigative report, DiStefano is quoted as telling investigators that "I kick myself every day" over failing to take action immediately.

While the suspension of a chancellor is unusual, the lawyer for the woman whose allegations were not reported said that Colorado deserves no praise for what it announced Monday.

Peter Ginsberg, a New York lawyer who is representing the woman, said the outside investigation was well done. But he questioned the sanctions.

"Punishments are more severe for recruiting violations," Ginsberg told The Daily Camera. "The idea that the athletic director and head coach responsible have punishments that pale in comparison to routine infractions is simply hard to comprehend. We are just so deeply disappointed in how CU has reacted to this serious breach of loyalty to my client and the community."

While $100,000 is a lot of money for most academics, the football coach at Colorado has a salary (not counting bonus eligibility) of more than $2 million.


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