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Sunday, October 21, 2007
NBA says that probe of referees and gambling isn't finished

ESPN.com news services

The NBA on Sunday denied a New York Daily News report that the league has disciplined six referees for violating anti-gambling rules for officials.

The league's internal review of its entire officiating program in the wake of the Tim Donaghy scandal -- which is being conducted by former federal prosecutor Lawrence Pedowitz -- is not complete yet, according to league spokesman Tim Frank.

"There is no truth to this report," Frank said. "The commissioner has made it clear that we will have details to share once the review is completed."

NBA commissioner David Stern acknowledged earlier this month at a news conference in London that the internal review has indeed unearthed league policy violations from referees besides Donaghy. But the resultant penalties are not expected to be issued until the review is finished.

"There were some violations," Stern said. "But they are not hanging crimes."

Stern added in London that no firings will be necessitated by the findings of the review.

The Daily News reported in Sunday's edition that the six unnamed referees were found in violation of the league's anti-gambling policy for such infractions as going to casinos.

On July 24, Stern called the disgraced Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal," then said in London that the review has confirmed that.

Donaghy, who pleaded guilty to two felony charges after admitting to betting on games he officiated, will be sentenced on Jan. 25 before Judge Carol B. Amon, the Philadelphia Daily News reported, citing sealed court documents filed in Brooklyn (N.Y.) Federal Court.

The 40-year-old veteran official pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit gambling information across state lines -- for taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games he officiated. He has been free on $250,000 bond.

In a letter to Stern, Donaghy resigned on July 9.

Court papers say Donaghy started placing bets on NBA games in 2003. He then gave gamblers inside information, including tips on which crews would officiate games and how the various officials and players interacted.

Donaghy faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. He also must pay a $500,000 fine.

ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.