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Neuheisel points to school advice on pools

6/11/2004 - Washington Huskies

Fired Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel told the NCAA infractions committee Friday he relied on advice from the school's former compliance officer when he gambled in two high-stakes NCAA basketball tournament pools.

"We made our point strongly that Rick Neuheisel was consistent with NCAA policy," attorney Bob Sulkin said.

The committee heard responses from Washington officials and Neuheisel during a daylong hearing in Indianapolis.

No decision is expected for five to seven weeks.

The NCAA has accused Washington of lack of institutional control in the case that opened when Neuheisel admitted betting more than $11,000 on NCAA basketball tournament pools in 2002 and 2003.

The subsequent investigation disclosed minor football recruiting violations and determined $5 basketball pools were filled out by several athletic department employees, including former NCAA compliance officer Dana Richardson.

Sulkin said Neuheisel relied on rule interpretations from
Richardson.

"I don't believe the University of Washington had an effective
response, especially since the same compliance officer took part in
gambling pools," Sulkin said.

A memo from Richardson appeared to authorize participation in off-campus NCAA basketball pools. Since the memo was publicized, however, the school has said Richardson erred in her
interpretation.

Richardson resigned earlier this year.

University officials, including interim athletic director Dick
Thompson, didn't immediately return telephone messages seeking
comment.

The school acted swiftly last summer to fire Neuheisel, which
may soften possible NCAA sanctions. And former athletic director
Barbara Hedges, in charge when an array of issues surfaced within
the department, resigned in January.

The university got a break two weeks ago when the NCAA decided not to combine the gambling case with that of a former softball team doctor accused of improperly handing out prescription
narcotics to players.