NCAA probe of ex-golf coach targets betting
RENO, Nev. (AP) An NCAA investigation of a former Nevada men's golf coach centers on the possibility of sports betting, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Saturday.
Documents obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information Act request show NCAA investigators searched Rich Merritt's e-mail files for gambling-related keywords, such as "line," "spread" and "underdog." The documents show the NCAA obtained the Merritt family's personal financial records despite the former coach's objections.
"My wife and I still maintain that this is an invasion of our privacy and feel 'forced' in releasing these records," Merritt said in an April 15 memo to a Nevada official.
NCAA enforcement director David Didion said in an April 21 response that NCAA bylaws required Merritt's full cooperation.
Merritt was alleged to have bet on sports at Reno-area casinos in a whistle-blower complaint filed last summer by women's soccer coach Terri Patraw, who was later fired.
The NCAA investigation will determine whether Nevada faces punishment beyond the school's self-imposed sanctions last fall. Merritt was suspended for three matches after an internal investigation found he provided free meals to athletes and exchanged a frequent-flier airline ticket with an athlete. There was no evidence of sports betting.
In resigning this month, Merritt said he made "errors in judgment" the athletic department was not aware of, but he declined to elaborate.
Nevada officials have insisted there's no connection between the resignation and the NCAA investigation. The NCAA does not comment on investigations.