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NCAA-UT e-mails are found, released



The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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The University of Toledo yesterday released e-mail correspondence between its athletic director and the NCAA that related to a discussion concerning an unusually "large bet" that had been placed on the Toledo-Kent State football game last season.

Rachel Newman-Baker, the NCAA's director of gambling activities, said in the e-mail to UT athletic director Mike O'Brien: "You were correct that after careful review and based on the available information, it was determined that no additional investigation was warranted at this time. We appreciate your cooperation and prompt response to our requests."

Ms. Newman-Baker also asked Mr. O'Brien to be involved in future discussions related to sports wagering within the MAC conference.

At a Savage Hall news conference on April 1, UT officials had said they were not aware before this spring of an FBI investigation involving football player Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Jr., and alleged point-shaving on Toledo games.

UT officials later acknowledged that they had met with the NCAA in the fall of 2006 to discuss the "large bet."

On Oct. 11, three days before the Kent State-UT football game, Ms. Baker spoke at length with Mr. O'Brien, UT head coach Tom Amstutz, and faculty representative James Klein concerning the bet that had been placed on that game. Toledo lost the game, played at Kent, by a 40-14 score.

Mr. O'Brien has declined to comment on what was specifically discussed in the meeting, but said that later in the year he e-mailed Ms. Newman-Baker - the same e-mail exchange that was released yesterday - to follow up on their discussion.

University officials had originally said the e-mail could not be located, but yesterday UT spokesman Tobin Klinger said they obtained a hard copy of the e-mail from a printout that Mr. O'Brien had made. Mr. O'Brien previously said he had deleted the e-mail after reading it. The university has been unsuccessful in locating an electronic copy of the e-mail.

The Blade previously had filed a public records request seeking documents pertaining to any NCAA investigations or probes related to game betting. Neither the e-mail nor the printout that was released yesterday was contained in that earlier request that was provided to The Blade.

Mr. McDougle, who is suspended from the football team but, according to the university, remains on scholarship, was arrested by the FBI in March on charges that he conspired with a Detroit-area gambler to fix scores of UT games. The charges against Mr. McDougle were dropped in mid April in what federal prosecutors called "a procedural move." They added that the move would give U.S. attorneys more time to investigate the case, which remains open.

Earlier this week, Mr. McDougle's father told USA Today that he intended to send UT a letter requesting that his son be reinstated to the football team. Harvey McDougle, Sr., said his son is being used as a "scapegoat" by both UT and federal officials, and that the FBI was "falsely accusing" his son of involvement in the scheme.

Mr. McDougle, who missed most of the past two seasons following a serious knee injury, has one year of eligibility remaining. He had his best season in 2004, when the running back led the Rockets in rushing with 620 yards and seven touchdowns.

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