NCAA panel's big budget background reflected in proposal

Area colleges

January 03, 1991|By Paul McMullen

The 85th annual NCAA convention will be held next week in Nashville, Tenn., and the focus for most of the state's Division I programs is a reform package aimed at making them spend more money on scholarships, and in some instances, sponsor more teams.

The background of some of the people making those new standards, namely the president of the Boston Celtics, is telling.

Tighter minimum standards for membership in Division I were drawn up by a Special Committee to Review the Membership Structure. It was chaired by Fred Jacoby, who's also the commissioner of the Southwest Athletic Conference. His big-budget background was typical of the committee's make-up.

There were 18 people on the committee, and 11 had a Division I background. Jacoby and five others represented Division I-A, which includes the enormous state universities you see perform on national television. There were three representatives from the limited football scholarship land of Division I-AA, which includes Towson State and Morgan State.

The Mount St. Mary's and Coppin States of I-AAA, the group of schools without scholarship football that includes 103 of the 296 colleges in Division I, had two representatives. The schools that will be most affected by tighter membership standards had the least say, and the ones speaking for them didn't exactly share their philosophy.

Dave Gavitt was one of the two people who brought a I-AAA view with him to the Special Committee to Review the Membership, even though only four of the nine schools in the Big East Conference don't have scholarship football.

Gavitt, now the president of the Celtics, was the driving force behind that made-for-TV league, and there are some who wonder how qualified he was to speak for the little guys who are hustling to make ends meet.

"A Dave Gavitt-type is not really reflective of the I-AAA membership," said Rich Ensor, commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that includes Loyola. "He's a great guy, but he isn't typical of our institutions."

* One proposal at Nashville that is given little chance for passage is No. 80, a Big East-sponsored measure that would give academic non-qualifiers a fourth year of eligibility if they are making satisfactory progress toward a degree.

As the rules stand now, a freshman who doesn't meet Proposition 42 and 48 standards doesn't play. Proposal 80 would give him or her back that year, and it would go into effect immediately.

Locally, that would mean that Coppin State's Larry Stewart could have another year of eligibility. The 6-foot-8 senior forward was the Player of the Year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and it's scary to think what he could accomplish with another year.

* The search committee for a head football coach at Morgan State has received a resume from Jim Ward, who worked at Northwestern High from 1968-84.

Ward spent five seasons, 1984-88, as an assistant coach at Howard University, and he spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Norfolk State, which made the NCAA Division II rankings in 1990. He played at UMES when the school was named Maryland State and a small-college power.

"I want to come back home," Ward said. "I think I can turn the Morgan State program around."

* If it's not too early to talk about baseball, Johns Hopkins did a good job of recruiting replacements for some stellar infielders.

Second baseman Andy Bernstein, shortstop Jim Timmerman and third baseman John Horner made the Class of 1990 one of coach Bob Babb's best ever. The freshman class includes Mike Arenth, a second baseman from Arundel who was a Crown All-Star, and third baseman Nick Romagnoli, who hit .415 for Gilman.

There is also Scott Cade, who batted .493 for his New York prep school last spring. He's the same rookie who made a big splash as a quarterback last fall.

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