KENT, Wash. -- Nearly five weeks of testimony concluded Wednesday in fired football coach Rick Neuheisel's case against the University of Washington and the NCAA, and a judge set closing arguments for Monday.
Neuheisel alleges that the university wrongfully terminated his
contract, and that the NCAA improperly influenced his employment by
encouraging Washington administrators to fire him.
The university maintains he signed a contract that allowed for
his firing for acts of dishonesty. School officials have said
Neuheisel was fired for gambling on an NCAA basketball pool and
failing to be forthright about it with NCAA investigators.
King County Superior Court Judge Michael Spearman was to review
jury instructions Thursday.
Spearman has left open the possibility of declaring a mistrial
in the case because the NCAA failed to provide Neuheisel's legal
team with an updated version of its bylaws during discovery --
something that came to light just this week.
The updated bylaws seem to bolster Neuheisel's argument that
NCAA investigators acted improperly when they failed to tell him in
advance that they planned to question him regarding his gambling.
In four seasons with the Huskies, Neuheisel compiled a 33-16
record, including a Rose Bowl victory in 2001 and a No. 3 national
ranking. Former athletic director Barbara Hedges fired him in June
2003 after she said Neuheisel lied to her about interviewing for a
job with the San Francisco 49ers and about his participation in
NCAA men's basketball gambling pools in 2002 and '03.