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.