Colorado Buffaloes

DENVER - AUGUST 30:  A University of Colorado Buffaloes fag is brought onto the field during the game against the Colorado State University Rams at Invesco Field at Mile High on August 30, 2003 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado defeated Colorado State 42-35. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Colorado hires lawyers behind Pepper Hamilton report to investigate Joe Tumpkin response

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Joe Tumpkin is no longer with the Colorado football program, but the Buffaloes are still sorting through the way he left.

To recap: The longtime girlfriend of Tumpkin called head coach Mike MacIntyre in early December to inform him of a pattern of abuse from his safeties coach, which she later told investigators occurred more than 100 times over a 21-month period. According to the woman’s account given to Sports Illustrated — which the school has not denied — MacIntyre and the woman spoke a couple of times with the coach pledging to handle the situation until the line of communication went dead.

In the meantime, Tumpkin remained on staff and was promoted to interim defensive coordinator for the late-December Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for Oregon. MacIntyre suspended Tumpkin in mid-January, and Tumpkin resigned a couple weeks after that after a restraining order was filed against him.

However, the SI story created a level of blowback in Boulder that prompted MacIntyre to issue a statement defending the program’s response to the situation.

Still, the CU Board of Regents felt necessary to delay the approval of MacIntyre’s announced extension, and on Friday announced they have hired the two lawyers behind the Pepper Hamilton report that sunk Baylor’s leadership to probe the school’s response to the Tumpkin allegations.

“We are looking at what occurred and when, if our policies were violated, or whether those policies should be modified to better explain the reporting (requirements),” CU Board of Regents Chair Irene Griego said in a statement, via the Boulder Daily Camera.

The probe will be conducted by Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith, a pair of former Philadelphia prosecutors who now work for the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philly. At center of their investigation will be whether MacIntyre, AD Rick George and chancellor Phil DeStefano followed the university’s protocol for reporting sexual assault.

Still, Greigo noted the pair’s hiring doesn’t indicate a predetermined outcome one way or the other.

“Let me be clear, in no way should this decision to wait be viewed as an indication that the Board of Regents has determined that any employee violated a policy or that any disciplinary action is warranted,” Griego said. “We are simply being prudent.”

Colorado regents tap brakes on Mike MacIntye’s new contract

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Mike MacIntyre of the Colorado Buffaloes on the sidelines in the first quarter during their game against the Utah Utes at Rice- Eccles Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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Colorado announced in January that it had reached an agreement on a contract extension with head football coach Mike MacIntyre, subject to the approval of the university’s Board of Regents.  Given the events of the last few weeks, the expected rubber stamping from that body has been put on hold.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the school’s regents have decided to postpone a planned vote on MacIntyre’s extension because of the fallout involving one of the coach’s now-former assistants.  CU announced Jan. 27 that safeties coach Joe Tumpkin had “resigned” his position in the midst of domestic violence allegations and was subsequently charged with multiple counts of assault.  An ex-girlfriend had accused Tumpkin of multiple acts of domestic violence dating back to 2015 and as recently as November of last year.  She obtained a permanent restraining order against Tumpkin, of which the university became aware Jan. 6 and initially triggered a suspension.

Despite knowledge of allegations that reportedly included 80 episodes of abuse — according to the alleged victim, she first went to MacIntyre’s wife — all parties, including the coach, his athletic director and his chancellor, agreed that Tumpkin would call the defensive plays in CU’s Dec. 29 bowl game in place of Jim Leavitt, who had taken the coordinator job at Oregon.  CU defended their actions a week ago; a day ago, MacIntyre did the same.

An external investigation is being conducted into the chain of events that led to the controversy.  A vote from the regents on MacIntyre’s proposed deal won’t be taken until the results of that probe are revealed.

MacIntyre’s initial contract paid him just over $2 million for the 2016 season.  His new five-year deal would average $3.25 million annually through the 2021 season.

Mike MacIntyre defends handling of ousted CU assistant Joe Tumpkin

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 22:  Head coach Mike MacIntyre of the Colorado Buffaloes looks on prior to the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks defeated the Buffaloes 44-10.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Colorado assistant Joe Tumpkin has resigned amid domestic abuse allegations against him, but the school’s handling of him has put head coach Mike MacIntyre under the microscope.

Sports Illustrated story last week stated Tumpkin’s then-girlfriend came forward to MacIntyre and his wife in early December, with the coach pledging to handle the situation. The woman claimed to have suffered around 80 episodes of abuse from Tumpkin over a 2-year period, including one that prompted neighbors to call the local police department:

Earlier in 2016, she says she told MacIntyre during this second conversation, “the police had shown up at Joe’s apartment … [there is] a domestic violence call on file … a neighbor heard Joe beating me up.” She had lied to the police that night, she explained, by claiming that the violent sounds had been part of a consensual sexual encounter. The police bought it and left.

MacIntyre thanked Jane for the heads up, she recalled. According to Jane, he said that he had spoken briefly about the matter with athletic director Rick George, who was traveling, and “they were going to sit down together when [George] got back and decide what to do,” Jane said. After that call, and over the next three days, Jane’s phone was silent. She would not hear from MacIntyre, or anyone at Colorado Athletics, again.

In between those conversations and Tumpkin’s resignation, MacIntyre promoted him to defensive coordinator for the Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for the same post at Oregon. (The Buffs lost the Alamo Bowl 38-8 to Oklahoma State.)

With questions mounting how he could promote an assistant he knew had serious domestic violence allegations against him, MacIntyre offered this statement on Friday:

Upon hearing the allegations by Joe Tumpkin’s girlfriend, my initial reaction and foremost concern was for her safety. I reiterated that to her several times and confirmed that she was in fact, safe.

In the same conversation, I was clear in communicating to her my obligation as a university employee to notify my superior, which is exactly what I did. I can say I did everything necessary to ensure this individual’s statements were relayed immediately.

I would like to clarify the following reported statements:

There were two separate conversations. The first was her report to me of the abuse. In the second conversation, I communicated to her that I reported it. 

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.

I want to be clear I unequivocally endorse the chancellor’s plans for improving CU’s policies and practices in dealing with matters of domestic violence and pledge that I and the entire football coaching staff will work to carry out our obligations under university policy.

With both the allegations against Tumpkin and MacIntyre’s subsequent promotion of Tumpkin on the record, Colorado AD Rick George in January rewarded MacIntyre with a contract extension through the 2021 season.

Colorado says AD, chancellor knew of allegations, signed off on assistant calling plays in bowl game

BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Mike MacIntyre (L) of the Colorado Buffaloes confronts assistant coach Joe Tumpkin (R) of the Colorado Buffaloes as he leads his team against the Oregon Ducks at Folsom Field on October 3, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. The Ducks defeated the Buffs 41-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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A story out of Colorado that, relatively speaking, has flown under the radar has added yet another layer.

CU announced Jan. 27 that safeties coach Joe Tumpkin had “resigned” his position in the midst of domestic violence allegations and was subsequently charged with multiple counts of assault.  Monday, the Boulder Daily Camera writes, “he University of Colorado said that both Chancellor Phil DiStefano and Athletic Director Rick George approved of the decision to allow former assistant coach Joe Tumpkin to call plays at the team’s bowl game despite knowing about allegations of domestic violence against Tumpkin.”

An ex-girlfriend had accused Tumpkin of multiple acts of domestic violence dating back to 2015 and as recently as November of last year.  She obtained a permanent restraining order against Tumpkin, of which the university became aware Jan. 6 and initially triggered a suspension.

Despite knowledge of the allegations — the alleged victim first went to the wife of head coach Mike MacIntyre with her claims — all parties agreed that Tumpkin would call the defensive plays in CU’s Dec. 29 bowl game in place of Jim Leavitt, who had taken the coordinator job at Oregon.

“With no official documents in hand from a court or an investigation by police, we felt we were not in a position to take any personnel action,” CU spokeswoman Deborah Mendez Wilson told the Daily Camera regarding the decision to allow Tumpkin to coach despite the domestic violence cloud hanging over their collective heads. “Rick George updates the chancellor on personnel issues and decisions routinely in their bimonthly meetings. The decision on who was going to call plays was made by Coach MacIntyre, and Rick George supported that decision.”

Tumpkin received a $15,000 bowl bonus for coaching in the game, part of what turned out to be a severance payday of nearly $80,000.

Pac-12 National Signing Day recap: USC surges late once again but don’t sleep on Stanford

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  USC Trojans athletic director Lynn Swann (L) and USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton (R) pose with the 2017 Rose Bowl trophy after defeating the Penn State Nittany Lions 52-49 to win the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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History repeated itself out West as USC once again proved to be among the elite programs when it comes to recruiting on National Signing Day. Echoing their strong surge to end the 2016 season, the Trojans added a string of high profile commitments on Wednesday to surge to yet another top five class.

As well as the Rose Bowl champions did though, they weren’t alone when it comes to putting together an impressive group of players. Stanford remained a force when it came to top-tier players, cleaning up with five-star offensive linemen while adding several future contributors all over the board. UCLA also made an impression by receiving pledges from a pair of five-stars and shook off that disastrous 2016 season to close with a top 20 class.

Even the Pacific Northwest schools did well, with Washington riding an appearance in the College Football Playoff to a top 25 class while rival Oregon managed to finish not far behind despite a wholesale staff change. So while things weren’t quite to the level of their SEC counterparts aside from a trio of California schools, it was nevertheless another strong Signing Day for the Pac-12.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 1 overall Jaelan Phillips (DE, UCLA), No. 5 overall Foster Sarell (OT, Stanford), No. 10 overall Walker Little (OT, Stanford), No. 15 overall Davis Mills (QB, Stanford), No. 20 overall Stephen Carr (RB, USC)

Top 25 classes: No. 4 USC, No. 14 Stanford, No. 19 UCLA, No. 21 Washington, No. 24 Oregon

Biggest storyline: Coffee is for closers… and USC recruiting

USC has always recruited well so it’s not exactly surprising to see them finish in the top five of the team rankings. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by yet another incredible closing stretch for the Trojans, highlighted by the signatures of five-star tailback Stephen Carr, wideout Joseph Lewis and four-star athlete Greg JohnsonClay Helton basically mirrored his team’s season on the recruiting trail, starting out slower than expected before zooming up the rankings with an impressive amount of talent.

Biggest surprise: UCLA and Oregon pulled in quite a haul

There’s no other way of putting it but UCLA and Oregon were among the most disappointing teams in all of college football last season. Despite those on-field struggles, the two Pac-12 rivals still did a ton of work on the recruiting trail to land top 25 classes. The Bruins not only hauled in the top recruit in the country in Phillips, but also really beefed up in the trenches with some nice additions. The headlines out of Eugene have been anything but pretty for new coach Willie Taggart but the Ducks still plucked some speedy skill position talent and really got better defensively.

Don’t sleep on: Stanford, Utah

The Cardinal are a different type of recruiting machine given their academic restrictions and the fact that they have to go so far nationally but David Shaw assembled a very impressive class in 2017. Because most of the players were already in the fold, there wasn’t much buzz about Stanford on Wednesday but don’t let that fool you with five-star offensive tackles and a wealth of impact playmakers headed to the Farm. Utah’s small class size probably hurt them when it came to the team rankings but Kyle Whittingham and staff really did a nice job of filling out depth while landing a few potential freshman starters.

We’ll see about: Colorado, Arizona State, Cal

The Buffaloes best season in a decade didn’t result in a top 25 recruiting class but that is not too concerning given how well the staff in Boulder can develop players once they arrive on campus. The one concern though, might be the fact that there wasn’t as many high end secondary talent brought in as you would expect for CU. Arizona State received the best news earlier in the week when they learned Alabama transfer Blake Barnett would be eligible right away but the real question is if the 2017 class will be enough to close the rather significant gap in the Pac-12 South right away, especially on defense. Justin Wilcox did ok for Cal on such short notice but the Bears remain behind the 8-ball in the division and the league overall after Wednesday.