Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre releases statement on Joe Tumpkin situation

Matt Fortuna
Mike MacIntyre released a statement this week on the Joe Tumpkin situation. (Getty)
Mike MacIntyre released a statement this week on the Joe Tumpkin situation. (Getty)

Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre released a statement, dated Thursday but released Friday, with the intent of clarifying a report that he knew about abuse allegations against assistant coach Joe Tumpkin four weeks before Tumpkin was suspended.

Saying that he will not abandon ethics and morals in the pursuit of football glory, MacIntyre wrote that his initial reaction to the allegations made by Tumpkin’s girlfriend was concern for her safety, and that he did everything necessary to make sure her statements were relayed to his superiors immediately.

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From MacIntyre’s letter:

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.

Sports Illustrated reported last week that the woman who has accused Tumpkin of multiple incidents of domestic assault told MacIntyre on Dec. 9 that she had been abused by Tumpkin — then the Buffaloes’ defensive backs coach — for two years.

Tumpkin was suspended by the school after it said it was aware of the allegations against him Jan. 6, and he resigned from his position Jan. 27. He has been charged with felony assault.

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Between that conversation between MacIntyre and the woman, however, Tumpkin had been promoted to interim defensive coordinator, on Dec. 16, for Colorado’s game against Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. (Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt had left for the same job at Oregon.)

Colorado chancellor Phillip D. DiStefano released a letter Friday detailing two changes to strengthen the school’s ability in both responding to misconduct and in encouraging effective reporting of misconduct throughout all campus channels.

The school’s athletic director, Rick George, also said in a statement Friday that he “could have handled the situation better.”

“I feel particularly bad that I did not personally reach out to the woman involved,” George said. “I realize it would have been helpful for her to hear from me directly, letting her know the steps we would take and just checking in with her to offer personal help and support.”

Moving forward, George said, the athletic department will “err on the side of caution by reporting when in doubt.” George also said he should have been aware of the restraining order filed against Tumpkin:

I take responsibility for not being aware that a temporary restraining order had been filed prior to the day we received a copy, Jan. 6. Immediately after reviewing the report, we called Joe in and suspended him the same day. I understand this may appear to some that we were trying to hide the allegation. We were not. We hesitated to put Joe immediately on leave after we first learned of the allegation without any police investigation being brought to us or filings in a court. This does not change the situation, but gives you an idea of our conundrum. In the future, we will do better involving our experts around the campus immediately.

People need to know that I am committed to doing things the right way here. I am as thrilled by our football success as anyone, but I don’t ever want to compromise our values. I want us to be a model program in all ways and at all times. I am fully supportive of the changes the Chancellor is implementing and I am committed to upholding CU Boulder’s values in all our words and in actions.

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