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August 31, 2000|LARRY STEWART

What: "The Last Word With Jim Rome"

Where: Fox Sports Net

When: Weeknights, 6:30 and 11:30

You don't have to be a clone to appreciate Jim Rome's nightly half-hour sports magazine show. It's almost always topical, and even Rome's detractors admit he is a good interviewer.

Wednesday night, Mark Spitz talked about whether drug use is rampant among Olympic athletes.

Tonight, Dick Berthelsen, general counsel for the NFL Players' Assn., and Roosevelt Barnes, Ray Lewis' agent, will debate whether the Baltimore Raven linebacker should have been suspended after pleading guilty to an obstruction of justice charge in the double murder that took place after this year's Super Bowl.

On Friday, in a rare television appearance, former Notre Dame kicker Kevin Pendergast talks about his role in the 1995 Northwestern college basketball point-shaving scandal. Rome taped the interview far enough in advance to allow the Fox Sports Net publicity department to send out a videotape.

Pendergast: "I started gambling in November of my sophomore year on football games and I had a lot of luck early on. I guess I thought it was something other than luck. I thought it was because I had been a big sports fan and that I had some insight."

Pendergast, who was indicted for sports bribery in 1998 and spent two months in prison, talks about how he recruited Northwestern player Kenneth Dion Lee without ever meeting him face to face. He says Lee spotted him in the stands at a game against Penn State and seemed to know who he was. Pendergast, already $10,000 in debt, had a $10,000 bet on that game. He won that bet, but then lost $20,000.

Pendergast talks about how he had to look his father in the eye and see his disappointment. "Even though I'm sure it tore him up, his main concern was that I was going to live through all this and was going to find a way to get beyond it," he says.

Asked by Rome if he can say he will never gamble again, Pendergast says, "I guess I can't. I hope that I don't, but I am not really into predicting the future. I hope that I never gamble again, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I won't. I get up each day and am happy that I didn't gamble the day before."

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