May 042012
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

Below is a email from Athletic Director Jack Graham announcing that Nordly Capi, Mike Orakpo and Colton Paulhus, three football players involved in an off-campus fight, have been expelled.

To the CSU Community:

Recent events involving a few of our football players are disturbing
and unacceptable. It is important you hear personally from me about
the standards to which we hold our student-athletes.

First, an update. As has been widely reported already, there was an
off-campus fight a couple of weeks ago between a group of CSU
football players and some other CSU students in which the level of
violence exerted by the players was beyond anything that could be
considered reasonable. As a result, three of our players have been
charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

As AD, I want to make it absolutely clear that we have zero
tolerance for this kind of behavior by our student athletes. Our
football coaches led by Coach McElwain cooperated fully with the
police investigation and we acted immediately to suspend the players
from the team indefinitely—a suspension that is now permanent. The
resulting criminal charges were determined by the Larimer County
District Attorney based on an investigation by the Fort Collins
Police. While some of you have expressed concern to me that the
charges don’t seem appropriate, I can only refer those concerns to
the DA.

What I can say from the CSU perspective is that these players are
also subject to the CSU Student Conduct process, which assesses
whether they have violated the student code of conduct. Independent
of any criminal charges, violations of the student conduct code can
lead to sanctions up to and including expulsion from the university,
depending on the severity of the offense and whether it is part of a
pattern of behavior. The Department of Athletics is fully supportive
of the University’s processes for addressing this type of incident,
and while the results of such processes are typically not public,
there is an exception when the allegations concern violence,
including assault offenses. For that reason, I am able to report now
that players Mike Orakpo, Nordly Capi, and Colton Paulhus have been
expelled from Colorado State, effective Monday May 7. Although
there is an appeal process, expulsion in our Student Conduct Code
means permanently removed from the University (they have been
prohibited from coming on campus since the incident occurred).

I also want to address another disturbing finding in the Fort
Collins Police report that steroids and marijuana paraphernalia were
found in the residences of two of the players. I cannot guarantee
that our student-athletes will not use illegal substances, whether
recreational or performance enhancing—I wish I could. I can tell
you, however, that I am committed, as are all of our coaches and
Athletic Department staff, to drug-free athletics and athletes.

All of our student-athletes are subject to year-round mandatory and
random drug testing by the NCAA. They conduct tests on
approximately 10% of our student-athletes between one and three
times annually. Immediately after I began my work as Athletic
Director, I took steps to implement additional biweekly tests
conducted by CSU that involve about 8% of our athletes in each
testing session, which is well above the norm relative to other
universities. The consequences for testing positive to drugs or to
masking agents (we test for that too) are harsh. It is unlikely an
athlete will survive at Colorado State if he/she chooses to take
drugs, and I can promise you that such behavior will in no way be
tolerated or abetted.

With all these issues coming up at this time, I want to restate very
clearly that CSU Athletics is committed to upholding the highest
ethical standards in all aspects of our competition. Our coaches –
all of them – are committed to recruiting student-athletes who:

(i) Have strong character;

(ii) Have academic capabilities that give us high confidence they
will succeed and graduate; and

(iii) Are great athletes.

We make decisions to offer scholarships in that order. An athlete
who does not clear our character and academic standards, regardless
of their athleticism, will not be offered a scholarship.

We want to win at Colorado State – we will win at Colorado State –
but not at any cost. There are very clear ethical lines that we will
always honor.

On April 22, all student-athletes, coaches and members of the
Athletic Department met with me to discuss the expectations we have
of each other with regard to behavior and citizenship. We agree we
must be held to a higher standard because we are highly visible
representatives of our University. It is essential that we
represent Colorado State as great people, great students and great
athletes.

Virtually every student-athlete and coach is horrified, angry and
embarrassed by the actions of these few. With me, our student-
athletes and coaches have accepted responsibility for these actions
and for doing all we can to root out this behavior to the extent it
may still exist.

There is another aspect to this story that was highlighted in the
police report but not mentioned in the media accounts: Two of our
other players not only attempted to break up the fight but
apologized to the other students at the scene and refused to get
back in the car with the players who were involved in the fight.
They were straight-forward with their coaches and the police about
what happened despite considerable peer pressure to behave
otherwise. Just as we may want to condemn the students involved in
the fight, we also need to acknowledge and give credit to those who
made the right choices under very tense circumstances. It is these
students who set the standard for CSU athletics, and these are the
students who have earned and deserve our support.

You have my word our athletes will continue to be held accountable
to represent our University in ways that always make us proud that
we are Colorado State University Rams.

 Posted by at 8:08 am

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