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Briefings

NCAA Imposes Minor Penalties Over Infractions

The NCAA extended minor penalties on the UW athletic program after it looked into charges of gambling by some UW coaches and staff and investigated improper use of a boat for recruiting purposes, the NCAA announced Oct. 20.

The NCAA infractions committee did not find a lack of institutional control, though it did find a failure to monitor with respect to recruiting and gambling issues. There were no new penalties beyond those previously imposed by the University and the Pacific-10 Conference, though the length of the Pac-10 penalties was extended by one year.

Those penalties included a reduction in football recruiting visits from 56 to 48 and not allowing the school to use a boat for recruiting. They will remain in effect for the 2005-06 season. There were no postseason bans or loss of scholarships, but the UW is on probation through February 2007.

"The University is extremely pleased to put this case behind us," said President Mark Emmert, '75, at an Oct. 20 press conference. "We are also pleased that the NCAA agreed with us that there was no lack of institutional control."

The investigation started when the NCAA confronted former football coach Rick Neuheisel with charges that he participated in high-stakes gambling "auctions" during NCAA men's basketball tournaments in 2002 and 2003. At a June 2003 meeting, Neuheisel first denied taking part but later that day admitted participation. The NCAA said his net winnings over two years were $11,219. The UW terminated Neuheisel's contract in July 2003 (See "Bouncing Back," Sept. 2003).

Investigators later found that some UW coaches and staff over a four-year period had participated in low-stakes pools as well, with no bet totaling more than $5.

The report indicated Neuheisel, as well as other athletic department staff, did violate NCAA gambling legislation. The committee could not determine if Neuheisel relied upon gambling memos issued by former compliance director Dana Richardson, which incorrectly stated that staff could participate with friends on low-stakes pools.

The NCAA committee accepted the University's termination of Neuheisel among the sanctions imposed. The committee further noted, "It was very troubled by the fact that when he (Neuheisel) was first questioned about his participation in the 'bidding pool,' the former head coach did not provide truthful information."

Neuheisel has filed a lawsuit against the UW for terminating his contract. The case is scheduled to begin in King County Superior Court on Jan. 24.

The Official NCAA press release about the violations is located on the NCAA's web site.