Friday, November 10, 2017

The Greatest Colorado Player to Play College Football Locally -Phillip Lindsay

It's March 23, 2012 and the University of Colorado gets their first commitment of the 2013 football recruiting class.   Little do the fans know that player would go on to be the greatest offensive player from the state of Colorado to play college football in the state.  His name, Phillip Lindsay.

From the time of his commitment into even his Junior campaign, Phillip Lindsay was met with question marks and doubt from all angles.  It started with the usual, he's not fast enough or big enough to play running back, they should move him to defensive back on the message boards.  Then it was, well, he's not lead back material and can't be a workhorse.  Maybe, Lindsay will be a good third down back and get you 15 touches at best but even then he can't break a big play.

Between the 2015 season and 2016 season, something happened at the University of Colorado, the Buffaloes football team truly believed in The Rise!  A phrase new co-Offensive Coordinator, recruiting coordinator and Wide Receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini brought with him on his return to Boulder after last donning the silver, gold and black in 1998 as a player.  The Rise didn't become REAL until the seventh game of the season.  But, the week before many of the questions on if Lindsay was really the guy were answered with him being the best player for the Buffaloes (with a close second to Bryce Bobo) and helping them nearly will their way to an upset versus the USC Trojans.

Versus Arizona State, every doubt that anyone had regarding Lindsay was ended on the first play of the 2nd half.  Lindsay had 68 yards and a score at halftime for CU.  It was a night game, the crowd was at over 95% capacity and CU was up 23-10 and looked like they were about to go from laughing stock of college football for far too many years to nearly becoming bowl eligible.  Lindsay took a counter to the left side of the line in a nice hole, bent through the arms of two would be tacklers and raced 75 yards for a touchdown showing speed and power as the last Arizona State defender could not bring him down when he caught him.  Lindsay would finish with 219 yards, 26 carries and 3 touchdowns.  Lindsay would go on to rush for 100+ yards in 3 of the next four contests and help grind the Buffs to their first 10 win season in nearly 15 years and first division championship since 2005.

Despite the disappointment of the 2017 season and sitting at 5-5, the leadership and workhorse mentality of Phillip Lindsay has shined bright for the Buffs in 2017 with Lindsay amassing over 100 yards (actually 140 is the lowest of that group) in half of the games and amassing 19 or more carries every game.  Lindsay leads the nation in carries with 263, has the fourth most rushing yards for this season with 1334 and has 12 rushing touchdowns.

Lindsay's acheivements at Colorado are set to fill the record book with these noted as highlights:
-Career Leader in All Purpose Yards
-76 Scrimmage Yards from becoming Career Leader in Scrimmage Yards (Rushing + Receiving)
-21 Yards from becoming 2nd leading rusher and 363 yards from taking the number one spot that Eric Bienemy holds
-First non-quarterback to reach Top 10 in total offense with only 36 more yards from scrimmage.  
-2nd Most TDs in school history needing 5 more to match Eric Binemy and is Top 5 in Scoring at 222 points.
-48 yards from becoming first 1,000 yard career receiving as a running back
-Most receptions by a Running Back

If Lindsay can eclipse 1,000 yards receiving he would be the first player in CU history to rush, receive and return for over 1,000 yards.

Lindsay had offers from Utah and Texas A&M before committing to the Buffaloes and a knee injury that ended his senior year campaign at Denver South may have prevented bigger schools from coming into the fold, but before even committing to CU and the knee injury and coaching changes that 2012 year held, Lindsay said to Adam Munsterteiger in January 2012 "I looked at CU and they run a lot so their offense is pretty cool. I am really interested in CU right now. It would be great to stay in my home state for college."

Even before he saw the field and after being named Scout Team Offensive Player of the year during his redshirt year, Lindsay spoke more on the subject with Brian Howell: I love my state, I love (CU), I love Colorado football, and I want everybody to know that.  You're coming from Colorado and everybody is talking down about (the football program) because you have off years. But it's about pride."  

The truth of the matter is, while there are other great locals that have played at CU, CSU and at Air Force over the past century, no player has had the on-field performance and ability to sell the state of Colorado football like Phillip Lindsay.  He is the ambassador of the state of football in Colorado, no matter how much rival CSU fans don't like to hear it, because he emulates everything you want in a Colorado kid that stays home; hard work, love for the state and respect nationally and being talked about nationally.  What other player that is playing now or has played in memory can you put out there to talk Colorado Football from the youth to the college level like Lindsay?  A kid that was born here, grew up here and stayed in Colorado and showed what hard work can do and that shows team above self.  That impact can already be seen in the Lindsay Afro wigs seen at games and the jubilation so many of CUs young fans have towards Lindsay.  Lindsay's buzz will be felt in the decade to come when that local kid plays running back dreaming of being the next Lindsay and maybe ends up at CU or CSU.  While Lindsay is far from the most talented and NFL ready player to come out of the local scene, he is easily one of the most recognizable and respected players that have donned a local colleges jersey.  Phillip Lindsay is a man you can point to and say, I want my kid to grow up like him whether Lindsay ever touches an NFL field or lives his other dream of protecting Denver as a police officer.  Thank you Phillip Lindsay for the pride you have shown for all of Colorado football.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Phil DiStefano Culpable For Mishandled Tumpkin Situation

The Boulder Daily Camera released the following article on February 16, 2017 CU chancellor says he wasn't required to report domestic violence allegations against ex-coach.  The article highlights DiStefano's reasoning for not reporting was he felt it did not fall under Section C: Jurisdiction of the Process and Procedures for the The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) of the University of Colorado because the incidents happened off campus and since the victim was not a University member, it did not include the off-campus Section C Part 1b.  However, DiStefano was incorrect and continues to be about this because it reads this:

Section C Part 1b: Conduct that occurs off University property if it: (1) has a potential continuing effect on campus, including, but not limited to, adversely affecting the health, safety or security of any member of the University community or the mission of the University.

The victim highlighted the following in the SI piece Seeking justice for alleged abuse, victim of Colorado assistant confronts big-time college football:

  • Coming home drunk-Whether she discussed him driving drunk or not, Tumpkin was a threat to the University community being he was part of it. 
  • Continued physical abuse-Again that has a potential continuing affect to Tumpkins Safety and Security alone.
  • Plan to file Restraining Order and Wanting Her and OTHER women to be safe-Potential ongoing violence that affects safety of Tumpkin and anyone involved.
  • Additional Information left out of SI piece but relayed in either conversation, voicemail or texts to MacIntyre: Some of these domestic violence issues occurred at team functions, i.e. hotels team were staying at or functions where Tumpkin represented school. . 
Additionally, the mission of the University is bullet point 1 in this document and directs you to the  Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures which highlight the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  On this page under Section II, Part A it highlights any affiliated entities and other third parties and again reiterates Section C Part 1b also applies to off-campus conduct, including on-line or electronic conduct, if the conduct (1) occurred in the context of an employment or education program or activity of the University or (2) has continuing adverse effects on campus.  In this same section, Part C, any responsible employee must report any allegations to the OIEC.

Yes, Mike MacIntyre should have reported it, but he did what is protocol and practice at any place of employment; Report to your superior to see what actions to take.  Rick George followed that with alerting his superior in Phil DiStefano.  DiStefano has 40 plus years with the University of Colorado and has been part of many mishaps and black marks on the University.  He immediately should have done what anyone should do, cover his ass and the University's ass by contacting the OIEC no matter what.  DiStefano created a gray area for himself by trying to interpret the OIECs Process and  Procedures.  

Phil DiStefano's mismanagement of this issue has turned a situation that could have been done right had he followed his own advice and "err on the side of reporting".  It's too late for that now.  OIEC was not aware of these issues until after the SI piece raised the red flag.  

It is disappointing to see CU mismanage another situation and in all cases where an embarrassment happened with athletics, DiStefano was in some ways involved in that poor decision.  DiStefano admitting to reading the OIEC P & P and not reporting shows that he is not suited to be part of big time college athletics and academics and needs to be replaced immediately and forced into resignation or an early retirement.  DiStefano broke procedure and potentially mandated federal law for not reporting an incident to his compliance office.  

Are Mike MacIntyre and Rick George completely free of any blame?  No.  But understanding the processes of business, they reported to their supervisors and told that they had done things right by reporting to them.  Yet, there are things that happened between Tumpkins forced resignation that need to be answered as to why these decisions were made.  

December 9-17th: MacIntyre talks with victim on 9th and 10th and receives texts and voicemails informing of what happened.  On December 15th, MacIntyre is sent text from victim that she will be filing a police report.

December 16th: Tumpkin is given play calling duties.  

This is an awful look to have all this and then Tumpkin is given a responsibility above what he had previously had as Safety's coach.  It makes it look like football is more important than compassion and CU is now provided with a heads up that there is a potential police involvement.  While I believe in due process, MacIntyre and his bosses erred on the side of stupidity by letting Tumpkin do anything besides coach LBs to fill the spot Jim Leavitt vacated and have MacIntyre call plays.  

December 13th-Renowned attorney Jon Banashek is brought in to defend Tumpkin and has conversations with Rick George about the matter over an unknown time period.

Decemember 20th-21st-A signed Temporary Protection Order is granted and signed against Tumpkin.  Awaits signature, but Banashek informs them his client will sign on the 30th. 

December 21st-Banashek is informed by Detective Dale Hammell of Broomfield Police Department that he would like to bring Tumpkin in for questioning and is denied. 

December 24th-Buffs leave for bowl game.

December 30th-Tumpkin signs TPO though his lawyer is informed prior to CUs departure.

Jon Banashek's responsibility is to protect his client and serve him the best way possible.  Was CU suddenly not made aware of what was ongoing and completely in the dark?  And if so, why wasn't someone following up on it?  Did they leave it in Jon Banashek's hands to inform them?  Not until January 6th does the University say they became aware of the signed temporary restraining order and pending Permanent Protection Order.  How is this?  Does CU not do their own digging?  I found a pending court date on January 5th.  How could CU be so in the dark or were they really and just trying to ride the storm out?

January 6th to 10th-CU find out about allegations on the 6th and Tumpkin is indefinitely on the suspended pending ongoing police investigations.  OIEC is finally involved and has Victims Assistance reach out to victim.  OIEC is first made aware by being informed of the story in the Boulder Daily Camera.

January 23rd to 27th-Tumpkin signs PPO on January 23rd but judge and final documents don't go into effect until January 26th.  CU is made aware of signed PPO and Rick George does what he tried to do 20 days earlier and forces a resignation that night.  It is officially announced on the 27th Tumpkin is out.

If CU was truly in the dark about the TPO until the 6th, then this sequence of events is how it should have played out.  However, for OIEC to read this and then immediately have Victim's Rights reach out to the victim, you bet your ass Phil DiStefano messed up his mandatory reporting.  There was no gray area to the OIEC, the victim needed to be reached out to.

January 31st to February 2nd-Joe Tumpkin is officially charged with 5 felony and 3 misdemeanor accounts from his physical abuse history with his ex-girlfriend.  Tumpkin turns himself in on these charges, is booked and released on bond after seeing judge following morning.  Signing Day was on February 1st, the night Tumpkin turned himself in.

February 3rd-Sports Illustrated story on Tumpkin-Victim and Colorado is released.  Phil DiStefano releases an "apology" to the victim and her son and tries to spin information of the SI story.   He finally states CU should err on the side of caution in all incidents and tries to create a gray area.

It took the University of Colorado being exposed in their mishandling by SI to even get a statement on the handling of this situation.  And it was a meek attempt at that.  The University had not reached out to the victim other than having their Victim's Rights and OIEC reach out from reading the information in the Boulder Daily Camera and getting the victim's number from the TPO filed.  

The University of Colorado has turned a story of domestic violence between two people and made it bigger by lacking by not immediately following school policy and state/federal mandating reporting laws of criminal activity. 

I ask these questions to the University and Mr. DiStefano:
  1. What if the victim had done what too many others had done and stayed quiet and not filed a TPO and police report?  That is a huge issue, because CU did not start taking action until after that occurred.  Tumpkin could have caused more harm to the woman by seeking her out after hearing of these allegations, drove drunk more and abused the other woman he was with after the victim.
  2. We know DiStefano has said he didn't feel like it was an OIEC matter? Why is he allowed to be one of the main figures and tie between athletics and academics if he is making that decision?  And did others influence that decision?
  3. Why was Jon Banashek the only line of discussion until the news broke about the Temporary Protection order and why was he contacting the victim PRIOR to any form of police reporting had occurred?  That is a scare tactic to prevent someone from reporting as highlighted with trying to bring up it getting worse and her son.
  4. Why was the victim blocked off from all communication and compassion from the main person she trusted and who made that decision to cut off contact with her across the board from the football program to the University?
  5. Why was it decided Tumpkin should serve as defensive play caller (since CU refuses to say he was made temporary DC)?  Did Tumpkin or someone else give a separate side to the story that made MacIntyre go this route?
  6. WHY was the OIEC not informed and where is the culpability going to fall on this?  What are CUs plans of actions with DiStefano, Rick George and Mike MacIntyre?
The University of Colorado failed the victim and failed themselves.  After reading DiStefano's continued feeble attempts at giving reasoning for these actions, it shows that DiStefano is incompetent as the superior to so many at CU and his time has come to retire immediately, be forced to resign or fired.  CU needs to make an example that they will not tolerate this from their leaders.

Additional Commentary:

I believe the investigation and delaying MacIntyre's extension are a parade brought on by DiStefano to cover his mistakes.  I believe Mike MacIntyre is least to blame here and his contract should not be affected.  He is a football coach with good ethics and faith.  He should really be questioned on his form of reporting and who told him to cut off ties with the victim.  He should do right and send an email on his reasoning to the victim and show the faith he lives by and the faith the woman had in reporting to him.

Rick George should be questioned.  He is the guy between his coaches and the University. George did immediately inform DiStefano.  But why was Banashek having discussions with George and why was George apparently blindsided by this information?  What did he know and what was he told.  Of the letters released by MacIntyre, DiStefano and George, Rick George comes off as most compassionate and apologetic.

While I don't believe this is a scandal or a FULL cover-up like we have seen from other universities on far too many issues in athletics, I do feel concern for what happened if this woman decided to not protect herself and future women by making this a criminal case with a police report and protection order.  Then what?  Is this still not known and Tumpkin is either allowed to still coach or finish out his duties and asked to find another job quietly?  

College Athletics HAVE to be more transparent and more upfront.  They can not hide behind the curtain they have but make an example of how to handle things.  Had CU reported to OIEC immediately and not shut off communication and compassion with the victim in doing so, this would no longer be a discussion item besides applauding their course of action.  It's time for CU and all of college athletics to be better and to be the example, instead of continuing to be made the example or what not to do.  


Friday, January 27, 2017

Tumpkin's Time Ends at CU: Passion Fuels Violence

In October 2016, I interviewed Joe Tumpkin the day before the Oregon State game  and wrote a piece titled Coach Joe Tumpkin: Practicing What He Preaches.  During the interview he was a quiet spoken, cordial man very knowledgeable about the game of football and seemed like a very nice man from what I was told of him.  The ironic aspect to this interview happening was it  happened because I was introduced to Joe Tumpkin via social media from a simple acquaintance that I came to find out was the woman (let's call her "Paige) that was Tumpkin's lover/girlfriend and the woman that later would turn out to be the other side of Joe Tumpkin I had already seen pieces of on the football field.  

On the field, you saw something different where Tumpkin's fire and passion would come out and be worn on his sleeve.  There was the sideline confrontation with Coach MacIntyre during the 2015 Oregon game and the penchant to yell or scream during practice/games.  The quiet demeanor of a grounded man had a switch flicked when it came to the sport he was passionate about.

Unfortunately, that same switch flicked for the woman he was passionate about and it led to nearly two years of domestic violence.  The woman that loved Joe Tumpkin probably focused on the same things I saw in Joe in that short hour interview and ignored the fire that brewed within.  Paige saw the man that was God fearing and raised by a woman of the Lord in Dr. Mary Tumpkin and the man I saw that offered you a beverage and friendliness that you don't always show someone that is a stranger.  Most of all, Paige saw the man that she had fallen in love with over a year before he was hired by CU.  Someone that had never laid a hand on her or showed the violence and "passion" on the football field towards her.  

In February of 2015 Joe Tumpkin was hired by CU and Paige was there with him.  During his time at CU, she had met with the other football staff members, members of the athletic department and was well  received and part of the group of the coaches wives group.  But over the course of those twenty plus months, Paige endured violence from Joe she had never seen before when their relationship formed and grew in Michigan.  Violence came to Colorado with Tumpkin from a violent episode on her second visit to Colorado.  The excuses and the cover up began that day and continued for nearly two years.  While not every visit was violent, every episode of violence became more violent.  And Paige's cover-ups for any evidence became greater.

Paige had told no one of the ongoing abuse.  She lived with this burden for over twenty one months with the final episode occurring on November 20th, 2016.  It was the morning after a night going out to dinner to celebrate the Washington State victory with Tumpkin and friends, Paige suffered her last forms of physical violence from Joe Tumpkin when she was violently dragged out of his place and thrown into the hallway being told to "Get the f*** out of here!"  Paige rushed down to the lobby praying that was it.  Unlike in the past,  Paige didn't go back up when Joe reached out to her, she instead curled in a ball crying  waiting for an Uber ride to the airport and had to wait nearly 10 hours for a flight out of town.

Don't confuse Paige for a weak woman. Paige is a strong minded, hard headed woman that covered for the man she loved.  She comes from a background of helping people and trying to get the best from people.  Paige sought counseling sessions for Joe to help try to end the violence, stop the bad habits of drinking and driving, and get Joe Tumpkin back to the man she fell in love with.  In the end, the violence never ended and the passion for Paige snapped from Joe Tumpkin into another violent outburst with the counseling being of no assistance. 

Paige is not a victim.  In fact, she hates that word.  She finds it to demean the strong woman she is and others are victims, not someone who let herself continue to deal with this violence.  But the simple fact is Paige was blinded by her love of Joe just like many people are blinded by love of something/someone where we overlook the little things and even the biggest of things that shows that love is not a healthy and positive thing, but we find an excuse.  The abuse, covering and excuses for Joe ended on November 20th when Paige returned home and finally told family and select friends of the abuse she had endured from the man she still loved from February 2015 to just the day before.

Paige went to the Broomfield Police Department on December 19th and spoke about the things that had first been made public by Mitchell Byars article on January 6, 2017 (Joe Tumpkin, CU Buffs assistant coach, named in domestic violence complaint).  The Temporary Protection Order (TPO) had been set in place the following day on December 20th with the evidence from the report the Broomfield Detective took with hours of statements given and exact details and dates shared.  Paige had decided she could protect herself by disassociating herself from this man, but she had to protect other women and give justice for what he had done to her and she had covered up.  She couldn't keep quiet because she couldn't look her son in the eye and tell him the details of what she had endured without making sure he knew she wasn't going to make another excuse or cover up for Joe Tumpkin again.  

The news broke by BSN Buffs Jake Shapiro on January 26, 2017 that Tumpkin was out at CU (SOURCES: Assistant coach Joe Tumpkin out at CU ) stemmed from this, the Permanent Protection Order (PPO) had been signed by both parties and approved by the Boulder County Judge.  The signed PPO was what the University of Colorado Athletic Department found as just cause for asking for Joe Tumpkin's resignation.  His contract was set to expire, but the University was not going to sit idly and just cover for Joe Tumpkin like Paige had done and wanted him out for his action.  With the PPO, Paige had the protection for herself but the truth about Joe Tumpkin's violence towards her vindicated somewhat instead of being labeled some slighted ex.  Having a violent man around young men is something the University could not justify and was also a major concern for Paige.

With all that she had dealt with, Paige still has her concerns for Joe.  She worries about him finding another job, about his livelihood, his repuation, but most of all, she just worries about him.  Paige wants Joe to get the real help he needed to lose the violence and not hurt someone else while being the great man and coach she fell in love with and still fights feelings of caring so deeply for.  As someone that has met Joe Tumpkin and seeing the positives he has done as a coach and can do in life, I hope the same for him.  Joe Tumpkin deserves a second chance elsewhere in coaching and maybe at a level he can deal with men would be a good start but first he needs to prove he is a changed man and has received the help he truly needs.

While Paige's PPO may not be the end of this journey and there may be more that comes of all of this, the one thing her speaking up did was show other women that you can't sit quietly and think even as a strong woman that you can help him on your own.  The keeping each violent episode quiet over and over again isn't going to make things better but could lead to something really awful  happening.  So, speak up, because the repeated pattern of abuse will never end unless you speak up and separate yourself from that violence.  Laying your hands on a woman is not forgivable, especially one that isn't trying to hurt you, but help you.  While Paige may still love Joe and worry about his future, she also protected her own, the players Joe could have worked with and the potential victims in the future that may not have happened had she kept quiet. 

There is never a good ending to domestic violence, but there is always a chance for both parties to live a better life by getting the  help they need.  Paige and Joe deserve a better life going forward, I truly hope they do.