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McNeese Releases Gambling Report

June 20, 2000

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) _ Former McNeese State coach Kirby Bruchhaus bet on college and pro football in violation of NCAA rules, according to a report that prompted the coach to resign this month.

The report, released Tuesday, was put together by independent investigator Chuck Smrt, who formerly worked for the NCAA and was hired by McNeese.

Bruchhaus, who resigned June 6, has denied the allegations.

It was not immediately clear whether the McNeese State football program could face sanctions. The NCAA did not return phone messages left Tuesday.

No sanctions were planned by the Southland Conference, said commissioner Greg Sankey, who appeared at a university news conference when the report was released. Sankey said NCAA officials have led him to believe they are satisfied with how the school handled the investigation.

``The university itself has done nothing wrong,″ added Robert Hebert, university president.

McNeese officials said they knew of gambling allegations against Bruchhaus in December 1998, 10 days before they promoted him from defensive coordinator, but did not have sufficient evidence to delay the move.

Former coach Bobby Keasler made the allegations in a letter to athletic director Sonny Watkins. But when Watkins followed up with interviews of everyone Keasler said would be able to back up the allegations, he got nowhere, Hebert said.

``It was time to select a coach,″ Hebert said. ``Having no evidence, and hearing only rumors and allegations, we moved forward.″

Later, assistant coach Jason Pope recanted what he initially told Watkins.

``If we had had knowledge that Jason Pope would change his story after initially denying it, obviously it would have changed our decision,″ Hebert said.

Any wrongdoing found against McNeese likely would be considered a secondary violation and would not carry a heavy penalty, Sankey said.

McNeese has yet to forward its report to the NCAA.

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