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As the Village Turns

Losing at any cost

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This $395 dog coat is part of the Burberry clothing line - that is sold at Rutledges. CU coaches received $1,000 - gift certificates for items at the store, which is owned by - CU Regent Jerry Rutledge.
  • This $395 dog coat is part of the Burberry clothing line that is sold at Rutledges. CU coaches received $1,000 gift certificates for items at the store, which is owned by CU Regent Jerry Rutledge.

I think we'd all agree that no group of men epitomizes grace and elegance in fine gentlemen's clothing quite like a bunch of football coaches.

Whether they're decked out in cuffed, cotton twill, pleated gabardine trousers or the chill-stopping plain-front men's dress slacks in a fine Peruvian wool, there's no arguing one fact: Both types of pants are wildly popular among football coaches -- as long as they can get them with a heavy-duty, triple-fabric crotch so the slacks don't wear out with all that scratching.

Yet despite this well-known obsession that football coaches have with looking their best, there's great controversy recently swirling around the news that the head football coach at the University of Colorado gave his assistant coaches $1,000 gift certificates to an upscale, sophisticated men's clothing store, a store located right here in our own village.

A store owned by a CU Regent who votes on the football coach's salary.

In an era of big-time college athletics and a win-at-any-cost attitude, this revelation concerning spending and accounting practices by our state's largest academic institution has led to a pair of obvious questions:

1) Our village has an upscale, sophisticated men's clothing store?

2) Do those warm Peruvian wool pants come in fluorescent orange so I could wear 'em elk hunting?

The answer to both questions is yes. (Although wildlife experts warn that nothing will scare off an elk quicker than a whiff of their greatest natural enemy: the swift and fierce Peruvian sheep.)

Worth every penny

Anyway, the upscale men's clothing store we will write about today is Rutledge's, located in the heart of our village's ultra-cosmopolitan and swanky downtown area -- right next to Chester's Raccoon Hat Emporium.

The owner of the clothing store and recipient of at least $10,000 from Barnett -- funds Barnett gets from a university fund -- is Jerry Rutledge, who happens to be not just a CU Regent, but the chairman of the CU Board of Regents.

Barnett's reaction?

"It's my money," he told the Rocky Mountain News. "I can do whatever the heck I want with it."

This could include, as we learned from an earlier scandal this year, buying booze and hookers for his players and potential recruits. (Thus stocked with such high-priced talent and guided by a stunningly well-dressed coaching staff, Colorado on Saturday gave the University of Oklahoma all it could handle, barely losing to the Sooners by a narrow 39-point margin.)

For that kind of brilliant coaching, Barnett is paid $1 million a year by the university. He is paid an additional $140,000 a year by the university to run a summer youth football camp, and, in the most recent disclosure, $60,000 a year on top of all that for well, for something that even the university was unable to explain.

Although it's possible Barnett used some of that money to buy a calculator so he could keep track of Oklahoma's score.

One explanation

According to an independent examiner hired by the state attorney general, Barnett wrote a $10,000 check to Jerry Rutledge and allegedly received gift certificates in return. Rutledge, who owns the store, has offered only this explanation thus far: "The check wasn't written to me. It was written to the store."

Well, OK then. And we thought there might be a conflict of interest.

Anyway, the CU assistant football coaches apparently have been given all these $1,000 gift certificates. Here are some of the actual ways they could spend those certificates, based on the upscale Burberry line of clothing carried by Rutledge's.

Burberry swim trunks. Elastic drawstring waist, 100 percent cotton, made in Italy: $185. (Because nothing impresses a hooker in a hot tub more than a chubby, middle-aged football coach wearing a $185 bathing suit.)

Burberry pants in a lovely tan-black-and-white check pattern. Price tag: $210. (If you're going to be a pimp you might as well dress like a pimp. Also will come in handy if the coaches audition for roles in a stage production of Caddyshack. )

Burberry baseball cap: $65. (Frankly, if you pay $65 for a baseball hat it should come with a foot rub from Barry Bonds. Although depending on what he's injected into his veins that day, I'd be a little nervous that Barry might sneeze and accidentally snap my foot off at the ankle.)

Burberry cotton T-shirt. Yellow. $80. On the front are a series of seemingly unconnected and disjointed lines. (Looks like a page out of the CU football playbook in which the quarterback hands the ball to the fullback, who sees the big, mean Oklahoma players running toward him, at which point he screams, throws the ball into the stands and curls up in the fetal position.)

Pink doggie coat: $395

A CU assistant coach could get the $210 pimp pants, the $185 swim trunks, the $80 T-shirt and the $65 hat with the gift certificate from the guy who sets Barnett's salary -- oops, I'm sorry, I mean from the store of the guy who sets his salary -- and still have plenty left over to buy a lovely hooded sweatshirt for his dog.

From the actual Burberry clothing line catalog: "Burberry hoodie dog coat. Pink. Two flat pockets for treats. Belt with snaps. $395."

I bet if the CU coaches could get the pink hoodie dog jacket in a size large enough to fit Ralphie, the CU buffalo mascot, the team might even score a touchdown in next year's game against Oklahoma.

I bet it would come on the first play of the game.

While the Oklahoma players were still rolling around on the ground, holding their sides.

-- richt@csindy.com

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