|Refs report finds only Donaghy committed crimes|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 02 October 2008 04:34|
The report, compiled over 14 months by former federal prosecutor Lawrence Pedowitz, called for the creation of a ``culture of compliance'' and the closer monitoring of games for suspicious activity.
He made three key recommendations to the league: create a hot line to anonymously raise questions about gambling and game integrity issues; make available any complaints the league receives about refs - beginning in the 2008-09 playoffs - to both teams to avoid suspicions of bias; provide more access to referees for both fans and media.
g guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.
The report agreed with the federal government that there was no evidence that Donaghy made any calls to affect games after studying 17 games, including 16 during the 2006-07 in which it was believed Donaghy made picks.
Pedowitz's firm conducted more than 200 interviews with referees, and team and league personnel to complete the 133-page report.
Although the report found referees broke league rules involving casino gambling, none of their activities reached the criminal level. It disputed Donaghy's allegations of specific misconduct and favoritism toward certain players and teams, but warned ``because the potential for referee bias remains a threat to the integrity of the game, the League can do more.''
The report already has sparked a number of changes. Army Major General (Ret.) Ronald L. Johnson, who served 32 years in the Army, was hired over the summer as senior vice president, referee operations. Longtime ref Bernie Fryer became the NBA's vice president and director of officials, and Joe Borgia was appointed vice president of referee operations.
ct nothing less from our referees than the highest level of accuracy, professionalism and integrity.''
Stern has asked Pedowitz to review the new program at the end of the season.
The NBA learned in June 2007 that Donaghy was being investigated by the FBI. Though the commissioner maintained from the start that Donaghy was the only criminal, he appointed Pedowitz and his firm two months later to conduct an investigation of the entire referee operations department.
Pedowitz's team interviewed referees, players, coaches and other league personnel during its review, which were completed months ago. However, the league was advised not to release its findings until the federal government had conducted its own investigation, which concluded with Donaghy's recent sentencing.
The league had hoped by then that Donaghy would agree to speak to the investigators, but he never did.
The report was further delayed after Stern ordered referees to be re-interviewed after Donaghy's lawyer released a letter during the NBA finals accusing officials of rigging playoff series in 2002 and '05 to ensure better TV ratings.