- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2004

No nudes is good nudes, according to Gary Barnett, the football coach at the University of Colorado.

It seems Barnett is shocked by the revelation that wild sex parties have been held to lure football recruits to the Big 12 school.

His shock is fairly shocking, considering what passes as a recruiting visit to many of the nation’s college football factories.

Barnett would not feel obligated to express his moral indignation if it were not for the three women who alleged they were raped at one of the parties.

All of it, of course, is news to Barnett.

Sex? Who is having sex? Why are they having sex? Is there a problem?

Back in the real world, where people have sex in the darnedest places, Barnett is the last of the fuddy-duddies.

You see, sex is not what he is about. You don’t pitch your program with sex. You sell the football and academics. The recruit as well as the parents will respect you more the next morning.

Whatever this is — a misunderstanding or a no-means-maybe thing — Barnett does not condone this kind of behavior.

“I’m very comfortable with what our coaches have done and what our athletic department has done,” he says.

Comfort level is always important to a coach with a district attorney snooping around and the university planning to peek under the sheets.

Get the man a chair and pillow. We want him to be as comfortable as possible.

This could take a considerable period of time.

Who holds a wild sex party in an effort to persuade a hormone-raging adolescent with large biceps to attend a particular university? Try more than you care to know.

Universities play the pretty young thing card with conviction. They tutor the pretty young things in the art of the social graces and how to keep a smile pasted on their faces.

No, none of this is intended to promote sexual activity between the women and young studs. That would be too blatant. But plenty of universities choose to ignore the basic laws of nature among the young late at night.

There is a party, followed by small talk, a few beers, loud music, dim lights, bad jokes, boisterous laughs and a cry to let the good times roll.

Before you know it, the partygoers are disappearing into side rooms, and there are nudes, nudes, nudes. Step right up. All live nudes. No cover charge either.

Barnett just says no to nudes.

He is kind of like Sgt. Schultz in “Hogan’s Heroes.”

He knows nothing — nothing.

Coaches are a funny breed. Most days, they pretend to know nearly everything there is to know with their football players.

Being thorough is one of their unyielding principles. They are hardly the types to leave to chance a visit from a blue-chip recruit, especially with other universities in hot pursuit of the same person.

That is just not in their competitive nature. So a schedule is put together for each recruit, with times and places to be. No recruit is free to roam the premises. There is always someone at the recruit’s side showing him a good time, and she is usually young, attractive and friendly.

That is the drill, “shallow” as it might be, to use one of Barnett’s defensive words.

No, Barnett does not know what happens at 1 in the morning of a party.

To be honest, he does not want to know.

This is in the family of the wink-and-nod method of coaches, honed on their trips to high school fields when direct contact with a recruit is prohibited.

Yet showing a recruit a good time on a campus visit is the mission, and if a young man and woman happen to have a momentary connection, well, it can’t hurt the university’s chances of landing him.

You will not find a trace of Barnett or any coaches at these functions. Plausible deniability is on their side. They merely establish the conditions before burying their heads in film.

Then one day, after maybe no meant no, a coach is required to evaluate his comfort level in a sad, lonely manner.

He might as well try to equate six weeks to six years.

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