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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Portion of Neuheisel suit thrown out

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge threw out part of former Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel’s wrongful termination lawsuit Friday, saying he was not entitled to pursue his claim of defamation against the NCAA.

Nevertheless, Neuheisel’s central claims — that the university wrongly fired him and that the NCAA wrongly meddled in the case — will be allowed to go to trial later this month.

“The core of the case is still going forward,” said Neuheisel’s attorney, Robert Sulkin.

Former athletic director Barbara Hedges fired Neuheisel in June 2003 after he lied to her about interviewing for a job with the San Francisco 49ers and about his participation in NCAA men’s basketball gambling pools.

Judge Michael S. Spearman on Monday rejected the university’s request to dismiss the case. His ruling Friday concerned a similar request by the NCAA.

Last fall, the NCAA held that Neuheisel was not responsible for breaking rules against gambling because he had received bad advice from a UW official who said taking part in such pools was allowed.

Neuheisel had five years left on a six-year contract that paid about $1.2 million a year, meaning millions of dollars could be at stake in the case. Neuheisel is seeking unspecified damages.

Neuheisel is a finalist for the offensive coordinator position with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.