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Ex-graduate assistant's credibility important

SEATTLE -- Rick Neuheisel's legal team is pinning a key part
of its case on a former graduate assistant coach who alerted
investigators to gambling on the NCAA basketball tournament by
Washington football assistants.

However, Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges said
Tuesday that it doesn't matter what Ikaika Malloe told anybody because
he gave conflicting statements.

One of the next steps in Neuheisel's tug-of-war against the NCAA
and his former employer will center on the credibility of Malloe,
who told investigators he organized NCAA basketball pools in the
Washington athletic department in 2001 and 2002 and identified
assistant football coaches who took part.

"Mr. Malloe did not have to come forward. No one would have
ever found out," attorney Bob Sulkin wrote in Neuheisel's 38-page
response to a Pac-10 investigation released Tuesday.

"However, he stated that he could not live with himself,"
Sulkin wrote. "And if he had to lie to keep his job as a coach at
an NCAA institution, he would rather coach in high school."

Malloe, now a coach at Western Illinois, was a graduate
assistant from 2000 to 2002 under Neuheisel, who was fired this past summer
for participating in high-stakes pools on the NCAA basketball
tournament.

Hedges announced disciplinary action Tuesday against 12 athletic
department employees, including new head football coach Keith
Gilbertson and compliance officer Dana Richardson, for
participating in college basketball pools.

The actions were included in the university's response to the
Pac-10 investigation.

The NCAA has said all gambling by athletes, coaches and
administrators is against its rules. Neuheisel, who is suing the
NCAA and the University of Washington over his firing, didn't take
part in any of the football office pools, Sulkin said.

Neuheisel admitted winning $12,000 in neighborhood gambling
pools over the past two years. His defense team has cited
Richardson's memo that approved off-campus pools for athletic
department personnel.

The Pac-10 found Richardson erroneously interpreted an NCAA
rule. For that mistake, and for gambling in basketball pools,
Hedges gave Richardson a letter of reprimand -- the most serious of
three levels of disciplinary letters.

Gilbertson and four assistants received letters of admonishment
for participating in $5 basketball pools in 1999.

Other than Neuheisel's gambling, "we believe the other
violations are minimal," Hedges said.

Hedges said that investigators couldn't confirm Malloe's claims of
pools in subsequent years and that she's satisfied that Gilbertson and
other coaches told the truth to investigators.

"Our coaches adamantly denied participating in years other than
1999," she said. "There was insufficient evidence for other
years."

Sulkin, though, argued that it was wrong to fire Neuheisel for
gambling in off-campus pools when other coaches gambled in pools on
campus.

Norm Arkans, special assistant to the school president, said
there's no comparison between Neuheisel's actions and those of the
others.

"They are light years different," Arkans said. "It's somebody
putting a couple of bucks in their brother's pool vs. a highly
visible coach of our most prominent program going into a public
place to secure the rights to NCAA Tournament teams."

Sulkin disclosed testimony by Erin Chiarelli, who won money by
betting $3 or $5 in a 2002 pool. She was one of two football office
staffers who received letters of admonishment.

"I know I didn't take $65 or $60 and throw into a hat to win my
own pool," Chiarelli told investigators. "So the numbers don't
add up" if coaches claimed they didn't participate, she said.

Arkans said top-level school administrators have "held
everybody at the football office accountable for knowing about the
pools." Hedges said she doesn't know where Chiarelli's winnings
came from.

"It appears there were people inside the football office and
possibly family members who participated," she said.

Washington officials next will go before a Pac-10 compliance
enforcement committee Dec. 15. The conference can accept
Washington's corrective actions or recommend others.

The Pac-10 should conclude its portion of the investigation in
March, then turn it over to the NCAA.