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Ex-CU kicker says harassment began Day 1

A former Colorado kicker who says she was raped by a teammate and terrified of telling her coach about it said sexual harassment started the day she joined the team.

Katie Hnida said she is still haunted by what she went through.

"It's been five years, and it's still terrifying. It's still something that I wake up with and I deal with," Hnida said in an interview aired Monday on NBC's Today.

At least nine women, including Hnida, have said they were assaulted by Colorado players or recruits since 1997. No criminal charges have been filed, though Hnida said she is part of an investigation by the state attorney general and Boulder police.

"The investigation is very far from over," said Hnida, who first told her story of rape and mistreatment to Sports Illustrated in February 2004.

The university issued a statement saying it has asked Hnida to provide information about the attack so action can be taken.

"Regretfully, she has chosen not to respond to these calls, but we understand that is her personal decision," the school said. "We admire Katie's strength and perseverance in pursuing her dream of playing college football, and we wish her the very best in her future endeavors."

Hnida joined Colorado in 1999 as a walk-on but never got into a game. She transferred to New Mexico in 2002 and the next year became the first woman to score in a Division I-A game, kicking two extra points in a 72-8 win over Texas State-San Marcos.

Colorado coach Gary Barnett was suspended for three months in early 2004 in part for comments he made after Hnida's story was revealed.

ZOOK PURSUES EX-ASSISTANT: Florida assistant coach Mike Locksley spent part of the weekend in Champaign, Ill., pondering a job opportunity with Ron Zook.

Locksley, Florida's recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, has been offered the offensive coordinator's position at Illinois, a position left vacant when Larry Fedora left last week for the same job at Oklahoma State.

Locksley, 35, could make a decision today. He has been a member of Florida's staff for the past two seasons.

SUIT REFILED: A former Tennessee player and his family are going back to court over their claims that coach Phillip Fulmer and the NCAA defamed them during an investigation into recruiting violations at Alabama.

Kenny Smith and his parents filed a lawsuit in Knox County Chancery Court on Thursday seeking $480-million because of statements Fulmer made to NCAA officials in 2000, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. A similar lawsuit filed last year in Alabama was dismissed.

Fulmer told the NCAA there were rumors that Smith's mother was involved with an Alabama assistant coach and that Smith had dealings with a former Alabama booster. Smith originally signed with the Crimson Tide but later went to Tennessee.

Fulmer's attorney, Jeff Hagood, said he doesn't think the lawsuit has merit.

GEORGIA LOSES GURU: The Bulldogs coaching staff took a major blow when defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder left to become linebackers coach with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

VanGorder, a little-known assistant when he was hired by coach Mark Richt in 2001, quickly transformed Georgia into one of the top defenses in the country.

In 2003, VanGorder won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top college assistant.

Secondary coach Willie Martinez was promoted to the additional job of defensive coordinator. VanGorder worked with the linebackers, so the Bulldogs will hire a new assistant at that position.

Richt lost another member of his staff: Running backs coach Ken Rucker will take over the same job at Texas.

MISSISSIPPI: Center Chris Spencer will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. The 6-4, 310-pounder said he was projected as a second-round pick.

TEMPLE: Junior quarterback Walter Washington, a second-team All-Big East selection, will leave school early to enter the NFL draft.

UTAH: Sophomore receiver Steve Savoy will skip his final two seasons and enter the NFL draft. Savoy, eligible because he's three years out of high school, follows junior quarterback Alex Smith into the NFL.

VANDERBILT: Quarterback Jay Cutler announced he will return for his senior year to the program he said he couldn't wait to leave midway through a 2-9 season.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

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