Skip to main content

Recapping Colorado's review of Mike MacIntyre's handling of domestic violence notice

The situation involving Mike MacIntyre, domestic violence committed by a former Colorado assistant and the school's handling of the allegations therein is a messy, complicated tale with far-reaching implications for everyone involved -- and the coaching profession as a whole. As such, we've received questions and requests from a number of coaches asking as to explain the situation, what MacIntyre did and what their obligations are if (God forbid) a similar situation erupts on their staff.

First, let's blow through the timeline of what we knew leading up to this week:

  1. On the morning of Dec. 9, MacIntyre received a call from the longtime girlfriend of safeties coach Joe Tumpkin saying Tumpkin had repeatedly and violently beat her. The two speak for 34 minutes, during which she details nearly two years of physical abuse. MacIntyre asks if the woman is safe, she says she is.
  2. Precisely a week later, MacIntyre announces Tumpkin will run the defense and serve as defensive play caller for the Buffaloes' Alamo Bowl appearance December 29th against Oklahoma State (defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt had accepted the same role at Oregon).
  3. Tumpkin is suspended on Jan. 6 after The Boulder Daily Camera obtained a copy of the temporary protection order (TPO) and ran a story about it.
  4. In late January, Tumpkin resigned from his job at Colorado and was charged with five felony counts and three misdemeanor counts of assault.
  5. Colorado regents delay approval of a previously-announced $16 million extension for MacIntyre.

Here is what we learned following the release of a 4-month, third-party investigation:

  1. MacIntyre's 34 minute initial call with Tumpkin's girlfriend occurred at 6AM December 9th. 13 hours later, MacIntyre made his first outreach to his AD. During that time, the report states MacIntyre made or received approximately 20 phone calls including 4 to his agent.
  2. MacIntyre did not actually get in touch with his AD until the morning of the 10th. At 9:31 that morning MacIntyre called & engaged a private criminal defense attorney who had previously represented players "adverse to the University" in Title IX proceedings. This attorney "served as MacIntyre's advisor during his second, third and fourth interviews" for the report. In explaining why he engaged the attorney MacIntyre stated, "When it is this magnitude, I am going to make sure I cover every base; it impacts reputation when it hits."
  3. Later on the 10th, MacIntyre blocked Tumpkin's girlfriend's number on his cell phone.
  4. MacIntyre and AD Rick George met with Tumpkin on Dec. 11 to inform the assistant his girlfriend had called MacIntyre with her allegations against Tumpkin. The pair tells Tumpkin they did not want to hear anything about the situation so MacIntyre and George "would not be in the position of being witnesses or exercising influence." George says the meeting lasts two minutes.
  5. December 12th the woman sent MacIntyre an iMessage and also left him a voicemail on his cell phone informing him that Tumpkin already had another woman in his apartment, and that she was worried for her safety.
  6. Neither MacIntyre, George nor Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano alerted law enforcement at any point during this time, and MacIntyre did not contact the University's Title IX OIEC.
  7. December 12th, at his request, MacIntyre provided Tumpkin contact information for an attorney who had represented several CU football players in legal matters.
  8. The woman iMessaged and left a voicemail for MacIntyre on Dec. 15 saying she is going to file a temporary protection order against Tumpkin the following Monday.
  9. December 16th MacIntyre publicly announces Tumpkin will run the defense for the upcoming bowl game.

We also learned from the third party report that MacIntyre's contract allows the University to terminate his contract for cause if he "fails to immediately report to the Athletic Director and law enforcement (if the misconduct involves potentially criminal conduct) serious student-athlete or football staff misconduct MacIntyre knew or should have known about." "In addition to Title IX reporting requirements, under the Clery Act, University employees designated as Campus Security Authorities are required to report Clery-designated crimes, including sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, and stalking, to the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department."

The third party report prepared for the University concludes that significant errors were made in the handling of this matter by MacIntyre, George & DiStefano; but they say they do not see evidence of a "cover up". All three had a duty to report the accusations to the University's OIEC and to law enforcement. Not one of them did. A separate law firm prepared a summary for the board in which they concluded, the parties should have known their requirements to report the allegations to the Title IX Coordinator of the OIEC and "MacIntyre & George also should have known that they were contractually required to report Tumpkin's alleged conduct to law enforcement."

The third party report suggested "In light of the severity and significance of the allegations, which involved potential felony-level criminal conduct, an alternative approach may have been to suspend Tumpkin pending the gathering of additional information, rather than defer action - and from an outward perspective - elevate Tumpkin's stature and role at the bowl game."

Upon reading the findings of the third party report and after considering the recommendations of the additional firm the board asked to assist with their review, Colorado's Board decided to suspend the Chancellor (DiStefano) for 10 days and to issue letters of reprimand to each of DiStefano, George and MacIntyre. All three of them have also, "volunteered" to make a $100,000 donation to domestic violence groups. The three will also be required to attend additional training on these matters.

With that established... recommendations from the FootballScoop staff for any coach who finds himself in a similar situation.

  1. Know your responsibilities
  2. Immediately report the accusations to your athletic director
  3. Immediately report the allegations to law enforcement
  4. Speak with your attorney / agent to ensure you have complied with all requirements of your contract
  5. Do the right thing

Recapping Colorado’s review of Mike MacIntyre’s handling of domestic violence notice

— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) June 14, 2017

At their Monday meeting Colorado's Board did not take action on MacIntyre's new contract which it has held up pending this review. However, local reports are that the Board expects to approve the contract this week.