[Washington] Husky faithful look back wistfully to their last great team: the 2000 squad, winners of the Rose Bowl, owners of an 11-1 record, ranked No. 3 in the nation.
....What happened on the field in 2000 may have been magical. But what happened off it was not.
An unprecedented look behind the scenes — based largely on documents unavailable at the time — reveals a disturbing level of criminal conduct and hooliganism by the players on that team.
Former coach Rick Neuheisel and athletic director Barbara Hedges accepted most of it, demanding little discipline or accountability from their athletes. And other community institutions, including prosecutors, police, judges and the media, went along.
....When that Rose Bowl season began on Sept. 2, 2000, against the University of Idaho, the UW's starters included:
• A safety who, according to police reports, had cut his wife's face, broken her arm and broken her nose. He had already served time for choking her into unconsciousness. While playing in front of 70,000 fans on Montlake that day, he was wanted on an outstanding warrant.
• A linebacker under investigation for robbing and shooting a drug dealer. He had left behind a fingerprint stained with his blood. By the season opener, police knew the print was his — but they didn't charge him until the season was over.
• A tight end under investigation on suspicion of rape.
At least a dozen members of the Rose Bowl team were arrested that year or charged with a crime that carried possible jail time. At least a dozen others on that team got in trouble with the law in other seasons.
....When a star player made headlines for crashing his pickup into a retirement home and fleeing, Neuheisel suspended him — for half a game.
....[When] UCLA hired Neuheisel to be its head coach. UCLA's athletic director, Dan Guerrero, said the school was concerned about Neuheisel's history of NCAA violations but figured that was in his past. More relevant was Neuheisel's 66-30 record.
"In the end," Guerrero said, "it was all about 66 collegiate wins."