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NCAA CLEARS NEUHEISEL OF GAMBLING VIOLATIONS

Former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA for gambling in a college basketball pool, but the university had its probation extended two years.

Washington's NCAA probation -- initially imposed because of men's basketball recruiting violations -- now runs until Feb. 9, 2007. The school was also reprimanded for failing to monitor the football program.

Thomas E. Yeager, chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said that Neuheisel avoided punishment because the school's compliance officer had written memos mistakenly saying that participation in gambling pools was allowed.

"If not for unique and unusual mitigating circumstances in this case, the outcome certainly would have been different," Yeager said. "This case should not be interpreted in any fashion as a softening of the NCAA's anti-gambling position."

Neuheisel was fired in June 2003 by then-Athletics Director Barbara Hedges after he acknowledging taking part in a high-priced NCAA college basketball tournament pool.

"The important thing is to realize that, not only did they not impose any penalties on me, but also they came to the conclusion that I did not violate any rules, which is the way I had felt all along," Neuheisel said.

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