Closing arguments set for Monday

Updated: March 2, 2005, 8:16 PM ET
Associated Press

KENT, Wash. -- Nearly five weeks of testimony concluded Wednesday in fired football coach Rick Neuheisel's case against the University of Washington and the NCAA, and a judge set closing arguments for Monday.

Neuheisel alleges that the university wrongfully terminated his contract, and that the NCAA improperly influenced his employment by encouraging Washington administrators to fire him.

The university maintains he signed a contract that allowed for his firing for acts of dishonesty. School officials have said Neuheisel was fired for gambling on an NCAA basketball pool and failing to be forthright about it with NCAA investigators.

King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman was to review jury instructions Thursday.

Spearman has left open the possibility of declaring a mistrial in the case because the NCAA failed to provide Neuheisel's legal team with an updated version of its bylaws during discovery -- something that came to light just this week.

The updated bylaws seem to bolster Neuheisel's argument that NCAA investigators acted improperly when they failed to tell him in advance that they planned to question him regarding his gambling.

In four seasons with the Huskies, Neuheisel compiled a 33-16 record, including a Rose Bowl victory in 2001 and a No. 3 national ranking. Former athletic director Barbara Hedges fired him in June 2003 after she said Neuheisel lied to her about interviewing for a job with the San Francisco 49ers and about his participation in NCAA men's basketball gambling pools in 2002 and '03.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press