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Tuesday, August 21, 2007
New York attorney to lead review of NBA referees

Associated Press

The NBA on Tuesday chose former federal prosecutor Lawrence B. Pedowitz to oversee a review of its policies regarding gambling and its referees in the wake of the Tim Donaghy scandal.

Pedowitz and his partners at the New York law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz will study the NBA's antigambling efforts, as well as the processes the league uses to hire, train and monitor its officials.

"There is nothing as important as the integrity of our game and the covenant we have with our fans," commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "In order to preserve their trust, we will make every effort possible to ensure that our processes and procedures are the best they can be."

The league's entire referees program came under scrutiny after Donaghy pleaded guilty to betting on games, including some he worked, and providing inside information to others to help them win bets.

ESPN Radio in New York reported last week that Donaghy was set to name as many as 20 other referees who took part in gambling activity, though not necessarily criminal. The NBA forbids its officials from any type of betting, except for offseason trips to the race track.

Officials are allowed to attend shows at a casino during the offseason, but may not be in the gaming area. Referees who violate the policy could be fired.

Though other referees may have violated its gambling policies, the league maintains that Donaghy is the only one who did anything illegal.

"There have been allegations that other referees violated NBA rules prohibiting casino gaming and the like, but it remains our understanding that Tim Donaghy is the only referee who bet on NBA games," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Monday.

Pedowitz's team will interview referees, players, coaches and other league personnel during its review.