Lack of Institutional Control?

Bob Sulkin, attorney for former Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel, told the Associated Press Tuesday that the NCAA has added 'lack of institutional control' to it's list of charges against the school, but not to his client. Sulkin said that it's clear now the school can't hide from the truth that they were the ones responsible for Neuheisel's gambling on intercollegiate athletics, and not Neuheisel himself.

Neuheisel's involvement in a NCAA men's basketball pool was at the heart of his being terminated as Washington's coach after four seasons and one Rose Bowl victory.

Former athletic director Barbara Hedges said at the time of Neuheisel's termination that he was fired for gambling and also to lying to NCAA officials investigating his activities.

Neuheisel has lawsuits pending with both the school and the NCAA for wrongful termination. This news would appear to be a victory for the former Huskies' head man.

"The charges make it very clear that the university failed to educate those coaches and staff and indeed sent them incorrect information," Sulkin told the AP. "The university should accept responsibility for its actions rather than blaming its coaches and other members of the athletic department."

This news is apparently the culmination of the NCAA's investigation done side-by-side with investigations done by the Pac-10 and also by the school itself.

In November, the Pac-10 delivered a notice of charges against the school, which included a charge of 'failure to monitor', stemming from Neuheisel's gambling activities, as well as other coaches' involvement in betting pools and also for booster contact with recruits during boat trips on official visits.

For their part, the school has already docked itself 8 official visits as a penalty for the inadvertant contact and has also issued either letters of reprimand or admonishment to several coaches and staff involved, including Compliance Officer Dana Richardson and current head football coach Keith Gilbertson.

Sulkin's assertions today were not verified by either the University nor the NCAA. In fact, a University spokesperson wasn't sure that the school had even been notified by the NCAA of it's findings.

As with the Pac-10's earlier charges, they will either be upheld or additional penalties will be levied. That will be known when the Pac-10 counsel meets again in March of 2004. Then the decision will be sent to the Pac-10 Presidents and Chancellors, then down the line to the NCAA for a final decision.

The NCAA can either accept the penalties, add additional sanctions on the school, or have their own meeting to address the issues at hand.