Report: Neuheisel to be fired over NCAA tournament poolPosted: Wednesday June 11, 2003 12:10 AM
SEATTLE (AP) -- Rick Neuheisel's participation in a high-stakes gambling pool on the NCAA basketball tournament reportedly will cost him his job as Washington's football coach.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, citing multiple unidentified sources close to the football program, reported that Neuheisel was told Tuesday by athletic director Barbara Hedges that he would be fired.
The newspaper said the sources were familiar with negotiations and indicated Neuheisel would be fired because he broke NCAA rules by taking part in the tournament pool.
Athletic department spokesman Jim Daves said Tuesday night that Neuheisel's status as coach had not changed and an investigation into possible violations of NCAA gambling rules was continuing.
"The university is continuing to review this matter," Daves said. "Coach Neuheisel has not been fired."
The newspaper said Huskies offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson would be named interim coach and the rest of Neuheisel's staff would be retained. Contacted by the newspaper, Gilbertson said he was unaware of the change.
Efforts by The Associated Press to reach Neuheisel and Gilbertson were not immediately successful.
Earlier Tuesday, Neuheisel appeared concerned and confused after spending 10 minutes with Hedges and members of the university's compliance department.
The coach said he went to the meeting "to get my cards on the table." But he came out looking genuinely worried, speaking in abbreviated sentences and unable to remain standing in one spot for long.
"These are big issues in my life we're talking about," he said.
Neuheisel brought a private attorney to the meeting but stormed out after being told his outside legal counsel represented a conflict of interest.
About four hours later, Hedges came out. She declined to explain what was discussed but politely promised reporters she would speak when it was appropriate.
"When I can talk to you, I will," Hedges said. "I just can't right now."
Neuheisel contends a school e-mail gave him permission to participate in the betting poll with friends and neighbors the past two years.
However, an NCAA official said Tuesday the organization has made it clear that gambling isn't tolerated, suggesting Neuheisel should have known better than to enter such a pool.
"The gambling rule is not vague," said Bill Saum, the NCAA's director of agents, gambling and amateur activities.
Saum wouldn't discuss Neuheisel or Washington directly, citing NCAA policy. The NCAA, though, opened an investigation last week after Neuheisel admitted betting on the last two NCAA basketball tournaments.
"It is clear and direct against participation in pools and it has been clearly interpreted that way over the years," Saum said of the rule.
NCAA bylaw 10.3 prohibits athletic department staff members and student-athletes from gambling.
Saum said the NCAA has made gambling a "front-burner issue" in the past five years, emphasizing at compliance seminars and in regular NCAA publications that any gambling is against the rules.
"I routinely do an immense number of interviews around the time
of the Final Four regarding pools," Saum said.