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Oregon coach, ref associates
By JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer

Ref Dave Cutaia and coach Mike Bellotti were high school classmates

NORMAN -- David Cutaia, the Pac-10 Conference referee who called Saturday's Oklahoma game at Oregon -- and who was leader of the crew that was suspended Monday by the Pac-10 for one game for officiating errors on the field -- is a longtime associate of Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti. The Tulsa World received an anonymous fax on Tuesday offering details about their relationship, which dates back to the late 1960s at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concorde, Calif.

David Cutaia is also a police chief in Martinez, Calif. Phone messages left at his office were not returned.

An employee at Ygnacio Valley confirmed that Cutaia graduated from the school in 1968, and Robert Michael Bellotti graduated in 1969.

"I had no idea about that," said Pac-10 associate commissioner of communications Jim Muldoon.

Muldoon said the Pac-10 has no policy in place that would preclude Cutaia from presiding over the officiating crew at an Oregon game.

"We don't have any rules against officials working games at their alma maters like some conferences do," Muldoon said. "We do believe in the integrity of our people.

"We don't have geographic restrictions either, because we do work from crews. These guys are from all parts of the West Coast. If you say, 'This guy can't work in Seattle,' then you're never going to have a full crew together."

The fax said Cutaia was a team trainer on the Ygnacio football team at the same time Bellotti was a defensive back.

Bellotti confirmed Tuesday night that he and Cutaia did attend high school together. But the coach said through Oregon associate athletic director David Williford, "He's not been in any communication with him since they graduated, other than their relationship in the Pac-10 professionally. They are acquaintances, but not good acquaintances."

Cutaia, 55, has been a referee since his youth, and was hired as a Pac-10 official in 1983.

He became a law enforcement officer in 1975 and was hired as Martinez Police Chief in 1999, according to a 2004 article published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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