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NCAA clears Neuheisel, extends Washington's probation

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  • NCAA clears Neuheisel, extends Washington's probation

    Oct. 20, 2004 wire reports

    SEATTLE -- Former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA on Wednesday for gambling in a college basketball pool, but the university had its probation extended two years.

    Slick Rick walks
    by Dennis Dodd

    What's Your Take?
    Tell Dennis your opinion!

    Washington's NCAA probation -- initially imposed because of men's basketball recruiting violations -- now runs until Feb. 9, 2007. The school was also reprimanded for failing to monitor the football program.

    Thomas E. Yeager, chair of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said that Neuheisel avoided punishment because the school's compliance officer had written memos mistakenly saying that participation in gambling pools was allowed.

    "Sports wagering is a problem that continues to threaten the well-being of student-athletes and coaches and the integrity of intercollegiate athletics," Yeager said. "If not for unique and unusual mitigating circumstances in this case, the outcome certainly would have been different. This case should not be interpreted in any fashion as a softening of the NCAA's antigambling position."

    The NCAA said it found no proof Rick Neuheisel intentionally broke the rules. (Getty Images)
    Neuheisel coached four seasons at Colorado before compiling a 33-16 record in four seasons with the Huskies, including a Rose Bowl victory.

    Neuheisel was fired in June 2003 by then-athletic director Barbara Hedges after he acknowledging taking part in a high-priced NCAA college basketball tournament pool.

    Neuheisel twice told Hedges that he had never taken part in gambling pools, when in fact he had won $11,219 in two of them - winnings he donated to a local school.

    "The important thing is to realize that, not only did they not impose any penalties on me but also, they came to the conclusion that I did not violate any rules, which is the way I had felt all along," Neuheisel said in an interview with College Sports Television, with whom he works as an analyst.

    The NCAA said in its report it was "very troubled" Neuheisel initially lied, but said that because of the memos, it could find no evidence that he intentionally broke the rules. Neuheisel was never charged with ethical violations for lying because he told the truth later the same day, Yeager said.

    The outcome could lead to Neuheisel's return to college coaching.

    "My hope is that someone will see this as vindication and that they will give me an opportunity. I think that, in the past, I've shown that I can do the job, and do it well," Neuheisel told CSTV.

    University attorney Lou Peterson said it would likely have no impact on a wrongful termination lawsuit Neuheisel filed against the university, set for trial Jan. 24. The university argues that Neuheisel broke his contract by being dishonest.

    "Rick and I are pleased the NCAA found he was not in violation of NCAA rules," said Neuheisel's lawyer, Bob Sulkin. "It's what we've said all along. ... He is happy and he feels vindicated, because he has been."


    Washington escaped serious penalties that may have resulted if the NCAA cited the school for lack of institutional control. The NCAA did, however, find repeated instances in which the school failed to monitor the football program.

    In addition to Neuheisel's gambling violations, the NCAA cited pool betting by other members of the athletic department, including former compliance officer Dana Richardson, who wrote the memos that cleared Neuheisel.

    The NCAA also cited the football program for undercharging recruits and their parents for rides in a 65-foot yacht and other private boats between 2000 and 2003, and for allowing impermissible contact between a football booster and recruits.

    Washington had already imposed several punishments on itself following an internal investigation of the football program - including limiting the number of expense-paid visits recruits can make to the campus in the 2004-05 academic year from 56 to 48. The university also said it would not use watercraft to recruit student-athletes in '04-05.

    The NCAA extended each of those penalties through 2005-06.

    "We are eager to move forward, continue to implement our corrective actions and build a program that fully reflects the university's values," Washington president Mark Emmert said. "We will do things the right way. We will be exemplary in everything we do."

    Beset with other problems, including a softball team physician accused of improperly dispensing medication and the resignation of the softball coach, Hedges retired early in January.

    Richardson left for another job. Robert H. Aronson, a law professor and longtime faculty representative to the athletic department, resigned after handling much of the school's defense in the NCAA case.

    The Huskies are 1-5 this season under coach Keith Gilbertson, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to replace Neuheisel. Washington plays at top-ranked Southern California on Saturday.

Related Topics


  • DJRamFan
    House panel hears from Bloom in probe of NCAA
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 14, 2004 wire reports

    WASHINGTON -- Jeremy Bloom told a congressional panel Tuesday that the NCAA cut his college football career short without giving him a fair chance to argue his case.

    Bloom, who would have been a junior receiver at Colorado this year, lost his college eligibility because of endorsement deals he received as a professional skier. He is a world champion in freestyle moguls and a 2002 Olympian.

    Officials of the NCAA called Bloom's endorsements willful violations of the rules, unlike similar cases that were deemed misunderstandings. They insisted Bloom had a fair hearing and every opportunity to state his side.

    "In the NCAA, the judgment of the dispute is formed exclusively within the organization by their own members," Bloom told the House Judiciary Committee's panel on the Constitution. "They're the judge, the jury and the executioner."

    Bloom's two-year fight with the NCAA came to an end two weeks before the regular season, when an NCAA panel turned down his final appeal to play football. NCAA rules allow athletes to accept salaries as professionals in other sports, but they aren't allowed to accept money from sponsors.

    Jo Potuto, vice chairwoman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said the organizing body for college sports gives student athletes due process as required by the Constitution. This is done, she said, despite court decisions that have rejected arguments that the NCAA is a "state actor" and therefore subject to these requirements.

    "An even playing field means more than an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules on the field," Potuto said. "It also means an evenhanded and consistent application of the rules off the field."

    Although Bloom's case got the most attention at the hearing, the larger question of whether Congress should tell the NCAA how it should investigate and adjudicate violations of association rules struck a personal chord with many members of the House panel.

    Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus called the hearing after the NCAA imposed sanctions against two major college athletic programs in his home state of Alabama.

    More than two years ago, the University of Alabama's football program was placed on probation, banned from bowl games and stripped of scholarships for recruiting violations.

    This year, Auburn's basketball program was slapped with probation and a loss of a scholarship amid charges that an AAU coach improperly acted as a representative of the university by arranging to wire money to one high school prospect and get a car for another.

    Bachus didn't bring up the Alabama or Auburn cases during questioning, but he accused the NCAA of trying to "poison the atmosphere" by citing the cases in an NCAA news...
    -09-15-2004, 09:10 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA bans Indian mascots, 'abusive' nicknames from postseason
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 5, 2005
    CBS wire reports

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Fed up with what it considers "hostile" and "abusive" American Indian nicknames, the NCAA announced Friday it would shut those words and images out of postseason tournaments, a move that left some school officials angry and threatening legal action.

    NCAA takes a stand that isn't much of one
    by Dennis Dodd

    What's Your Take?
    Tell Dennis your opinion!

    Starting in February, any school with a nickname or logo considered racially or ethnically "hostile" or "abusive" by the NCAA would be prohibited from using them in postseason events. Mascots will not be allowed to perform at tournament games, and band members and cheerleaders will also be barred from using American Indians on their uniforms beginning in 2008.

    Major college football teams are not subject to the ban because there is no official NCAA tournament.

    Affected schools were quick to complain, and Florida State -- home of the Seminoles -- threatened legal action.


    ZIP code where you park at night.

    Do you currently have auto insurance? Yes No

    Have you had a U.S driver's license for more than 3 years? Yes No

    Has any driver in your household had 2 or more accidents or moving violations in the last 3 years? Yes No

    "That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

    "I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," he added.

    The committee also recommended that schools follow the examples of Wisconsin and Iowa by refusing to schedule contests against schools that use American Indian nicknames.

    While NCAA officials admit they still can't force schools to change nicknames or logos, they are making a statement they believe is long overdue. Eighteen mascots, including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini, were on the list of offenders.

    Those schools will not be permitted to host future NCAA tournament games, and if events have already been awarded to those sites, the school must cover any logos or nicknames that appear.

    "Certainly some things remain to be answered from today, and one of those things is the definition of what is 'hostile or abusive,"' said Tom Hardy, a spokesman at Illinois....
    -08-08-2005, 06:25 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Neuheisel admits he 'bid' but didn't 'bet' on tournaments
    by DJRamFan
    Feb. 16, 2005 wire reports

    KENT, Wash. -- Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel testified Wednesday that he did not believe he violated NCAA rules by putting $6,400 on the men's college basketball tournaments of 2002 and 2003 because he did not consider it betting.


    He also acknowledged during cross-examination by a university lawyer that when he put up the money, he wasn't aware of school compliance officer Dana Richardson's erroneous e-mail authorizing NCAA tournament pools.

    Neuheisel, dismissed as Washington's coach in June 2003, is suing the school and the NCAA, alleging breach of contract and claiming the NCAA improperly influenced school officials to fire him. Neuheisel was hired last month by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens as their quarterbacks coach.

    The 2002 and 2003 pools Neuheisel put money into were auction-style pools conducted at high-rise office buildings in Bellevue and Seattle. People spent thousands of dollars to "own" a team and follow it through to the championship.

    "You were aware from your experience at NCAA Division I schools ... that it was against the rule to place a bet on intercollegiate athletics?" Washington lawyer Lou Peterson asked Neuheisel.

    "Yes, I did know that," Neuheisel responded.

    Peterson then challenged Neuheisel's statement that the pools involved bids, not bets, asking the coach if he had placed the money at risk.

    "I guess in those terms, it was," Neuheisel said, "but I did not think of it that way at the time."

    "Did you understand you may never see that money again?" Peterson asked.

    "Yes, and it didn't concern me. ... I didn't think of it as a bet. It was a friendly pool," Neuheisel said.

    He also said he stopped participating in a lower-stakes interdepartmental pool at Washington after his first season, when the NCAA cracked down on such activity.

    On Tuesday, his third full day on the stand in King County Superior Court, Neuheisel said he didn't believe the pools were illegal because no money was being retained by someone running the auction.

    Peterson asked Neuheisel whether he "knew it was possible to wager and win a lot of money?"

    "I knew you could do well," answered Neuheisel, who won $4,799 on his $3,610 investment in 2002, and $7,324 on $2,790 in 2003.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004-2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -02-18-2005, 07:50 AM
  • DJRamFan
    NCAA willing to bend rules in wake of hurricane
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 31, 2005
    CBS wire reports

    INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA wants university officials and student-athletes to focus on recovery efforts from Hurricane Katrina rather than worry about infractions, schedule changes or travel restrictions.


    To help, college athletics' governing body may temporarily adjust some of its most restrictive rules.

    Steve Mallonee, the NCAA's managing director for membership services, said Wednesday the NCAA is willing to give athletes and universities more latitude to travel, provide more benefits to athletes' families and even allow students to compete without attending classes because of the storm that devastated the Gulf Coast.

    "Any rule that can negatively impact an institution or the student-athletes, I think we'll be proactive in," Mallonee told the Associated Press. "The message we'd like is that we have a process that can and will be flexible to any of our institutions that are impacted."

    Other potential changes include moving games to different venues, extending seasons, and possibly allowing athletes' families to stay on campuses.

    In past years, schools have postponed or canceled games because of hurricanes and other inclement weather. The NCAA allowed some games to be rescheduled, and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the nation's college games were postponed -- and most were rescheduled.

    Still, the NCAA has a reputation for its rigid stances. The 2003 men's and women's basketball tournaments were not delayed by the start of the Iraq war, the 1981 NCAA championship was played the night President Reagan was shot and some people have complained the organization is prone to following the letter of its voluminous rule book rather than the intent.

    But, the NCAA has never faced anything like this.

    Experts predict it could take months for some areas, including New Orleans, to recover. Classes could be canceled -- making athletes at those schools ineligible under NCAA rules -- while other schools may want to use football stadiums or basketball arenas as relief centers.

    That could force games to be canceled or moved.

    The NCAA hopes a more flexible approach will give schools an opportunity to help communities, allow athletes to assist family and friends and compete on the playing field.

    "The first priority of those schools caught in Katrina's path is the students, staff and families who have been put in harm's way," president Myles Brand said in a statement. "It is too early to say what the exact solutions will be, but the national office will work to accommodate these unique and unfortunate circumstances."

    The impact of the rules changes could be felt from coast to coast. ...
    -09-01-2005, 06:30 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Former Kentucky assistant disputes summary of testimony
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 26, 2005
    CBS wire reports

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A former Kentucky assistant coach on Friday disputed the summary of his testimony made in a court filing by a former colleague, in which the colleague alleged Tony Franklin said high-ranking university officials were aware of violations being committed by the football program.


    Franklin, an assistant with Claude Bassett under then-Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, said that Bassett's attorneys, in a filing made Wednesday in U.S. District Court, offered a skewed version of Franklin's testimony during a deposition.

    Bassett, who was Kentucky's recruiting coordinator, is the central figure in an NCAA investigation that led to major sanctions. He sued the University of Kentucky Athletic Association, the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference last September, claiming they conspired to keep him from landing another college job and asked for $50 million in damages.

    In May, a judge dismissed all claims against the SEC and most claims against the NCAA and the university, but allowed a fraud claim against the university to stand, as well as a claim that the NCAA interfered with his prospective contract negotiations.

    According to Bassett's filing on Wednesday, Franklin testified during an Aug. 19 deposition that recruiting violations occurred both before and after Bassett's hiring. The filing also claims Franklin said Bassett wasn't the only one at Kentucky who committed violations, and that the violations occurred with the implied consent and to some extent, with the participation of administrators including former university President Charles Wethington, former athletics directors C.M. Newton and Larry Ivy and the university's current NCAA compliance director Sandy Bell.

    In an e-mail sent Friday to various "concerned parties," Franklin said that as of Thursday afternoon, he had not received a copy of the transcript of his deposition "and therefore have not read, agreed, or disagreed, to its contents. No one else, therefore, has received or read my signed sworn deposition."

    Franklin said "the document provided to the court was not my signed deposition" but instead "a one-sided summary of my testimony -- prepared and written by attorneys for Bassett."

    Bassett claimed in his filing that Franklin alleged Ivy told Franklin he "wanted to cover up these violations and avoid scandal to the University by firing Coach Bassett" and that Ivy went to Franklin "specifically looking for evidence to fire Coach Bassett," which Franklin provided.

    Robert Furnier of Cincinnati, one of Bassett's attorneys, said he had no comment "about anything Tony might say," citing a judicial order not to comment...
    -08-28-2005, 08:33 AM