Colorado suspends chancellor, fines AD and coach over handling of domestic violence allegations

By The Sports Xchange  |  June 13, 2017 at 10:08 AM
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University of Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano must serve a 10-day suspension, and athletic director Rick George and Buffaloes head football coach Mike MacIntyre each are required to donate $100,000 to benefit domestic-violence awareness because of the way they handled domestic-violence allegations against former assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin, the school announced Monday.

DiStefano, George and MacIntyre all will receive official reprimands.

The announcements by university system president Bruce Benson and the Colorado Board of Regents came after a regents meeting that followed an investigation into how university officials responded to the claims made by Tumpkin's former girlfriend.

Former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, a partner at the law firm WilmerHale, one of two law firms that provided the report on the incident, noted three failures by the three school officials.

--a failure to report domestic violence allegations

--a failure to report the information to law enforcement officials

--a failure of supervision of Tumpkin

"This has been a difficult time for the university community, and particularly for the woman who brought this to my attention," MacIntyre said in a statement. "When she reached out to me, my first concern -- which I shared with her -- was for her safety. I immediately reported to the athletic director for direction.

"All of us involved have learned that we have additional reporting responsibilities, and we will follow those procedures in the future. I had never been in a situation where one of my coaches was accused of abusing a spouse or partner. But, as the regents and President Benson recognized, I never acted in bad faith."

DiStefano requested the 10-day suspension for himself, and said, according to, "I wish to say again that I sincerely regret that I did not immediately contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance upon learning of the allegations of domestic violence. Rather than trying to determine for myself if her complaint fell within our jurisdiction, I should have contacted our campus experts, who would have made sure that she received an immediate response from the university."

Benson also read a statement.

"We didn't handle this matter as well as we should have," Benson said, according to the Denver Post. "CU does not and will not tolerate domestic violence or any sort of sexual misconduct."

"Some will say these disciplinary actions go too far," Benson also said, according to "Some will say they don't go far enough. Not everyone will be happy."

A major mistake in the university's response, according to the report, was that DiStefano, George and MacIntyre did not inform the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance of the allegations immediately after learning of them.

The woman who made the allegations told Sports Illustrated that she spoke to MacIntyre on the phone on Dec. 9. She said she told him she had been subjected to two years of abuse by Tumpkin, including an incident that had occurred the previous month.

She had requested a restraining order after she alleged Tumpkin, while drunk, pinned her against a wall, choked her and dragged her on the floor.

A week after MacIntyre had talked to the accuser, Tumpkin was named the defensive play-caller for Colorado's Alamo Bowl game against Oklahoma State, replacing Jim Leavitt, who taken a job at Oregon days earlier.

In a statement on Feb. 9, MacIntyre said, "Tumpkin was made the play-caller for the bowl game because, at the time of the decision, there was no police report or legal complaint. This decision was approved by my superiors."

In December, in the days before the bowl game, Tumpkin's former girlfriend filed a temporary restraining order with the Broomfield (Colo.) Police Department.

At that point, George released a statement that read, "We are still gathering details about the very serious allegations in this filing. Once I've reviewed it, I will get together with Coach (Mike) MacIntyre and we will take whatever action is appropriate and necessary."

George announced Jan. 9 that Tumpkin was indefinitely suspended, then was asked to resign on Jan. 27. He resigned at that point.

The next day, the restraining order became permanent, and charges were filed against Tumpkin on Jan. 31.

Tumpkin faces five felony counts of second-degree assault and three misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault in a domestic-violence case, according to the district attorney for Adams and Broomfield counties in Colorado.

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