Originally created 03/27/04

NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to Hnida



INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA on Friday granted an extra year of eligibility to kicker Katie Hnida, who transferred from Colorado to New Mexico and later said she was raped by a former Buffaloes teammate.

Hnida was on Colorado's roster in 1999 as a walk-on but never got into a game. She transferred to New Mexico in 2002 and last year became the first woman to score in a Division I-A football game when she kicked two extra points in a 72-8 win over Texas State-San Marcos.

The NCAA said the eligibility waiver, which was requested by New Mexico, was granted because she was unable to play for two years for medical reasons. She was out as a freshman in 1999 because of mononucleosis and missed the next season because of severe infections in her throat and tonsils that required surgery.

"No other outside factors were considered in the national office staff analysis in granting this request," the NCAA said in a statement.

Last month, Hnida told Sports Illustrated she was raped by a Colorado teammate in 2000. Coach Gary Barnett was placed on leave Feb. 18 after criticizing Hnida's athletic ability.

Federal lawsuits have been filed by three women who allege they were raped by Colorado football players or recruits at or just after a 2001 off-campus party. In all, at least eight women have accused Colorado players or recruits of sexual assault since 1997, though no charges have been filed.

The Board of Regents and the Colorado attorney general are investigating the cases and the university has made sweeping changes in its recruiting program.