CU-Boulder Releases Report On Ineligible Player

Published: March 5, 1998

The University of Colorado at Boulder released a report today on the outcome of its investigation into the participation of an ineligible football player in the fall 1997 football season.

In the report provided to the Big 12 Conference, the university concluded the participation by student-athlete Darren M. Fisk was an inadvertent violation of NCAA Bylaw 14.2.1. Under a fixed penalty clause of the NCAA and the Big 12 conference, the university agreed to forfeit all victories in the fall 1997 season.

The violation occurred when Fisk competed for his fourth collegiate season in his sixth year following his initial full-time enrollment at a university. Fisk initially enrolled at CU-Boulder, without any contact or involvement with athletics, in 1992. He then transferred to another university, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, where he participated in football, but was injured in his first game.

In 1994, he transferred back to CU-Boulder after he approached the athletic department about being a walk-on football player, his first contact with the department. By NCAA rule, as a transfer student, he was ineligible to compete in the 1994-95 season. He began competing in 1995-96 and continued to play through the 1997 football season.

According to the report, the ineligible participation resulted from an isolated and inadvertent record-keeping oversight by the university Registrar’s Office. Also, the report said, Fisk erroneously believed that he had been granted a medical hardship waiver for the injury at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. A waiver was never officially requested and received.

Athletic Director Richard Tharp said, “It is always unfortunate when college-aged students’ interest in competing, combined with unintentional human error, create a circumstance that impacts our athletic program and its members.

“However, when errors are discovered, we make every effort to fully investigate and disclose our findings. This is how we run our program.”

Tharp said he regrets the imposition of the fixed penalty of forfeiture, but appreciates “the conference’s expressed support for how we conduct the affairs of this department.”

He said the department will “enhance our checks and balances in an effort to prevent such occurrences in the future, although some problems may be unavoidable. We will continue to deal with any issues in a manner consistent with the integrity and goals of this program, the Big 12 Conference and the NCAA.”

Tharp said he has revised the department’s current process for ascertaining and recording players’ eligibility status. Also, information about transfer student-athletes’ years of remaining eligibility will be provided systematically to the student-athletes, coaches and academic staff.