Neuheisel appeals to UW VP

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2003

Rick Neuheisel's lawyer said Sunday he hopes to make the NCAA accountable for what he claims is the organization's ''rush to judgment'' in the firing of the Washington football coach.

Attorney Bob Sulkin has requested a meeting Monday with NCAA officials and University of Washington vice president Norm Arkans. Afterward, the school plans to announce its resolution of Neuheisel's appeal.

''The reason I'm going is to get the NCAA to acknowledge its role in this unfair rush to judgment,'' said Sulkin, who has criticized NCAA officials for their remarks to reporters shortly after the story broke.

An NCAA spokesman said the organization will no longer comment on Neuheisel's case.

Last week, Neuheisel and university officials agreed to waive a hearing with Arkans. Sulkin said he expects Arkans to support athletic director Barbara Hedges in her June 12 decision to fire Neuheisel.

Neuheisel filed an appeal, which Hedges rejected July 1. Neuheisel appealed that decision to Arkans.

''I'm not naive. I believe Mr. Arkans has every intention of firing Rick Neuheisel,'' Sulkin said. ''I just want to make sure the man pulling the strings at the university understands the consequences of his decision.''

Asked whether that means he will file a lawsuit challenging the firing, Sulkin said: ''Let's just say Rick Neuheisel plans to stand up for himself.''

Hedges cited NCAA rules violations in her decision, saying Neuheisel broke rules against gambling by taking part in neighborhood pools on the past two NCAA basketball tournaments.

She also said he wasn't forthcoming when first questioned by NCAA investigators.

Neuheisel has maintained he didn't know he was breaking the rules, saying an athletic department memo from the school's compliance officer gave him permission to gamble with neighbors.

Sulkin said Neuheisel's legal team isn't focused on a settlement. ''It's on this meeting with the NCAA,'' he said.

Offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson was placed in charge of supervising the football program's day-to-day operations last month. The university has said it will wait until the Neuheisel matter is resolved before announcing who the Huskies' new head football coach will be.

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