MADISON (WKOW) -- A UW Athletics official said head football coach Bret Bielema's heavy January travel schedule prevented him from granting an interview to a special panel as it reviewed former athletics senior staff member John Chadima's alleged sex assault at Rose Bowl-related drinking party.
"He had a job to do," Associate Athletics Director Justin Doherty told 27 News.
Members of the independent panel interviewed or spoke with 23 people in connection to Chadima's conduct, including athletic director Barry Alvarez. Panel members led by former Dane County Judge Patrick Fielder reviewed Chadima's actions at the December party in a UW suite at a Los Angeles Hotel.
Chadima resigned shortly after the Rose Bowl after allegedly assaulting the student at the party where underage drinking took place. The panel's report states Chadima also threatened the student, a UW employee who is over 21, with firing if the student did anything about Chadima's actions.
Fiedler said the panel also looked for other evidence of abuse of authority by Chadima but found none.
"We had extended the invitation, because coach Bielema is the head football coach and felt as a matter of our doing our job correctly and as matter of courtesy to him, an invitation should be extended," Fiedler told 27 News.
Doherty said Bielema did not attend Chadima's December 30 party.
Chadima's responsibilities included heading up football operations.
"January's the heaviest travel month for football coaches," Doherty said. "He had lost six assistant coaches." Doherty said Bielema also attended two out-of-city awards ceremonies during the panel's roughly two week-long period of work.
"According to his secretary, he was simply not able to be able to find a time that worked for all of us," Fiedler said.
Three student employees of the athletic department also did not make themselves available for interview by the panel, including one who received a text message from Chadima on the day of the party, threatening the student employee's job if he did not come to Chadima's hotel suite. The review panel did not have the power to compel witnesses to appear. Under the terms of Wisconsin's Open Records statute, 27 News has asked to see Chadima's text messages from his university-issued phone on the day of the party.
Fiedler said the credibility and conclusions of the panel's work were unaffected by the absence of the students and Bielema.
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