McConnell expands athletics investigation after racism allegations

Serena Bettis

Following recent news of an alleged cover up of coronavirus symptoms within the football program, Colorado State University’s athletics department is under even more scrutiny. 

According to two statements from CSU Athletic Director Joe Parker and President Joyce McConnell, CSU has paused all football activities and expanded their investigation into the football program and the athletics department after hearing allegations of racism and verbal abuse. 

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In his statement published to the athletics website Friday evening, Parker said he recently learned of “allegations of racism and verbal abuse from CSU’s athletic administration generally and in the football program specifically.”

Parker reiterated a statement frequently seen in McConnell’s emails, stating, “Colorado State University is committed to being an anti-racist university, and we will not tolerate any behavior or climate that goes against that core value.”

An hour after Parker’s statement was published, McConnell sent an email to the student body informing them of these allegations and the actions the University is taking. 

McConnell said Parker asked her to expand the independent investigation she launched after learning of the allegations about a COVID-19 cover-up to include “a comprehensive review of our athletic department and football program specifically related to allegations of racism and verbal abuse.” 

McConnell also shared the message she sent to student-athletes Aug. 5 announcing the Kansas City, Missouri-based law firm Husch Blackwell as the firm that will conduct the investigation. In that message, McConnell emphasized that any attempt to interfere with the investigation would not be tolerated. 

“Any attempts to retaliate against, pressure or intimidate individuals who participate in the investigation will not be tolerated,” McConnell wrote. “Should that occur, I urge anyone aware of such behavior to report that conduct to the investigators or to my office immediately.”  

Neither statement included information expanding on the allegations or where they came from. 

The Collegian is investigating this issue further and will follow up with more information as soon as possible.

Serena Bettis can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.