KENT, Wash. -- Rick Neuheisel's lawyer painted a contrast
Monday between what University of Washington officials said
publicly about the coach's firing and what they told NCAA and
Pac-10 investigators during closed hearings.
Neuheisel is suing Washington and the NCAA, claiming he was
unfairly fired as football coach in June 2003, and that NCAA
officials pressured then-athletic director Barbara Hedges to fire
He's expected to testify this week, possibly as early as
Wednesday, in the King County Superior Court trial.
At a news conference to discuss Neuheisel's firing on June 12,
2003, Hedges cited dishonesty and said the coach lied when first
questioned by NCAA investigators who had asked about his gambling.
After the forum changed to hearings with Pac-10 investigators
and later the NCAA's infractions committee, Neuheisel's high-stakes
gambling on NCAA basketball often was cited as a top reason for his
On Monday, Neuheisel lawyer Bob Sulkin grilled Karen Nyrop, an
assistant state attorney general, on the differences. As a lawyer
handling university legal issues, she presented Washington's case
before the Pac-10 and the NCAA.
Nyrop testified that when she went before the Pac-10, she listed
as reasons for the firing:
Gambling in high-stakes pools;
Gambling in a small-stakes pool within the football office;
"Poor judgment" and a history of NCAA rules violations;
Lack of remorse when censured by the American Football Coaches
His "initial untruthfulness" when Neuheisel told Hedges he
hadn't interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers' coaching job in
February 2003 and again during his interview with NCAA
investigators who asked about gambling.
"You didn't say he was fired for dishonesty?" Sulkin asked.
"No," Nyrop answered.
Nyrop also testified that shortly after Neuheisel admitted
taking part in auction-style NCAA basketball pools, she asked NCAA
investigator Rachel Newman if the coach could tell a reporter
waiting outside the hearing room that he participated in an
"I asked ... if he could say he participated in an auction, not
gambling. They did not agree to that," Nyrop said.
Earlier, former UW compliance director Dana Richardson
acknowledged she didn't review all the information available on the
NCAA's rules against sports betting before issuing the memo that
Neuheisel claims gave him permission to gamble in pools.
Neuheisel won $18,523 in auction-style pools on the 2002 and
2003 NCAA basketball tournaments.
Richardson testified that she reviewed NCAA bylaw 10.3 -- the
gambling rule -- and an Internet database of NCAA rules
interpretations before writing the March 2003 memo, which NCAA and
university officials said mistakenly authorized gambling in "March
NCAA rules prohibit gambling on college sports by athletes,
coaches and athletic department staff.
University lawyer Lou Peterson asked Richardson during
cross-examination if her review was as comprehensive as it could
have been. He wanted to know if she could have consulted the NCAA's
infractions database to study gambling cases.
"Maybe for some people," Richardson answered. "But not
normally for me."
Peterson asked Richardson if the NCAA infractions database
provided information -- available to compliance officers at member
schools -- on penalties imposed in cases involving gambling in NCAA
"I don't think I've ever gone to it. I've been told there are
infractions for participation in pools," she said.