Thursday, March 6, 2003

QB will deny betting on Florida St. games

By Rick Gershman
The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Former Florida State quarterback Adrian McPherson will plead innocent to a misdemeanor gambling charge, but that plea might change "if circumstances warrant," McPherson's lawyer said.

Attorney Grady Irvin Jr. also indicated in a statement that a trial could prompt testimony from university employees Irvin contends knew of illegal gambling allegations while McPherson played for the team.

McPherson, who started four games for Florida State last season, placed bets over the Internet on Florida State football games, including those he played in, school police said Tuesday. McPherson always bet on the Seminoles to win, the school said.

University Police Chief Carey Drayton said the misdemeanor charge against McPherson, and felony bookmaking charges against two other men, concluded a three-month, multiagency investigation.

"The work of the task force is complete," he said.

Athletic director Dave Hart could not be reached Wednesday evening. The school, which police said cooperated fully with the investigation, previously denied it had verifiable knowledge of alleged gambling.

Calls to Irvin's office were not returned following release of the statement, which questioned the school's knowledge of sports betting.

"We anticipate that the witness list will include a number of college athletes, as well as employees from Florida State University whom we believe had knowledge of illegal gambling long before Mr. McPherson's release from the team," the release said.

Meanwhile, Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden released a statement indicating his relief that McPherson was the only player charged.

"I'm obviously glad no other players were involved. I said in December that I would be shocked if any other of our players were involved, and I was correct, despite others' assumptions," he said.

Bookmaking charges were levied against former football equipment manager Jeffrey Inderhees and former student Dereck Delach.

Inderhees was booked at the Leon County Jail on Tuesday and released on bond. Delach is with his parents in Pennsylvania, school officials said.

Irvin said McPherson will appear in Tallahassee court Thursday for a case management meeting on earlier charges related to the theft of a blank check later cashed for $3,500.

McPherson, kicked off Florida State's team in November, could not be reached. A woman answering the phone at his parents' home in Bradenton said he was not home and hung up.

Meanwhile, Irvin said McPherson denies having spoken to columnist Mike Fish on Tuesday. Fish quoted McPherson denying the charges in a column on the site.

"Until the matter is cleared up, our office has requested that CNNSI remove the story from their Web site," Irvin said. It remained on the site Wednesday evening. said Wednesday night it stands by Fish's story.

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