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High school journalism class heard it first

LOS ANGELES -- More than a year before he came clean
publicly in his new autobiography, Pete Rose told a high school
newspaper class that he bet on baseball.

During an hourlong interview with student journalists at
Calabasas High School on Dec. 9, 2002, Rose was asked why he gave
up a spot in baseball's Hall of Fame to 'do what you did," Ian
Godburn, the school's journalism adviser, said Thursday.

"You mean, why did I bet on baseball?" Rose replied, according
to a videotape of the interview.

"Well, it was because I made mistakes. I made mistakes. You
know, when you do something, you think you're not going to get
caught. It's not like I'm the only guy in the world to gamble."

He then asked the student a question in turn.

"If you're going to become an alcoholic or drug addict or
spousal beater or a gambler, which do you hope to do?"

"Probably gambler," she replied.

"Probably?" Rose said. "Who are you going to hurt by
gambling? You don't want to do any of the four. I chose the wrong
one in the eyes of baseball. I admitted I bet on football."

The students did not ask Rose to clarify his comments and the
editorial board of the Calabasas Courier later decided against
using the quote in a story about the interview because they
couldn't be sure it wasn't a slip of the tongue.

In 1989, Rose was banished from baseball for betting on the
game. He denied the allegation until last week with the release of
his book "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars." In it, he
acknowledges that he bet while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

The book is heading toward the top of The New York Times' best
seller list.

Rose has repeatedly refused to answer reporter questions at book
signings. He refused to talk to The Associated Press Wednesday
night while promoting his book in Santa Clarita.

Nick Reder, former co-editor in chief of the Calabasas Courier,
said the editorial board decided against publishing Rose's comment
out of respect for Rose, who appeared before the journalism class
because he was friends with one student's father.

"He was doing a great favor for us," Reder said.

Also, Rose did not make an explicit confession, he said.

"I definitely would have jumped on the story" had he known
Rose would later acknowledge to gambling, Reder said.

Godburn said he stands by his class's decision not to use the
quote because Rose, in the same interview, indicated he had bet on
football rather than baseball.

"When we put the paper together, I asked my editors: Should we
put something in that we can't confirm? Should we put something in
that we didn't follow up?" Godburn said.

"The editors really felt that they were doing the responsible
thing and being responsible journalists and I fully agree with
them," Godburn said.

"The thing that bums me out is that he did lie to my kids," he
added.