Former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA yesterday for gambling in a college basketball pool, but the organization extended the university's probation by two years.

Washington's NCAA probation -- initially imposed because of men's basketball recruiting violations -- now runs until Feb. 9, 2007. The school also was reprimanded for failing to monitor the football program.

Thomas E. Yeager, chair of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, said Neuheisel avoided punishment because the school's compliance officer had written memos mistakenly saying that participation in gambling pools was allowed.

Neuheisel coached four seasons at Colorado, then compiled a 33-16 record in four seasons with the Huskies, including a Rose Bowl victory. Neuheisel was fired in June 2003 by then-athletic director Barbara Hedges after he acknowledged taking part in a high-priced basketball tournament pool.

The NCAA said in its report it was "very troubled" that Neuheisel initially lied, but said that because of the memos, it could find no evidence that he intentionally broke the rules. The outcome could lead to Neuheisel's return to college coaching. It might also help the wrongful termination lawsuit he filed against the university, set for trial Jan. 24.

-- From News Services

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