NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Baltimore-area Division I schools probably will have to wait until tomorrow to find out how the NCAA membership will vote on the hottest issue for local schools.
Although voting at the 85th annual NCAA convention begins today, the proposal to establish scholarship minimums in non-revenue sports apparently won't be addressed until tomorrow.
The state's newcomers to Division I -- Coppin State, Loyola, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Morgan State, Mount St. Mary's, Towson State and UMBC -- could have trouble finding the money to pay for more scholarships.
So several of the local schools are expected to back a pair of amendments that would soften the blow.
One amendment would give some leeway to schools that have a certain percentage of students receiving federal financial aid. It could help members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- including Coppin State, Morgan State and UMES -- meet scholarship minimums.
"The way I read that amendment, we've found an end run to the scholarship minimum issue," Morgan State athletic director Leonard Braxton said. "Now we just hope it passes."
A second amendment would redefine how scholarship aid is determined, dropping the wording "athletically related." One of its sponsors is the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which includes Loyola.
"If we can get that amendment through, all of our members would be over proposed scholarship minimums," said Rich Ensor, commissioner of the MAAC. "We want aid that isn't related to athletics included in the equation."
* The East Coast Conference and as many as nine others will have to wait until March to see where they stand with the NCAA Basketball Committee.
A Championships Committee has been formed to study the issue of conferences and automatic bids. The ECC -- which includes Towson State and UMBC -- will be down to five members this summer, and according to current bylaws, it would not be eligible for an automatic bid to future tournaments. Two resolutions regarding the issue will be considered.
"We wanted the NCAA to tell us we're OK in this area," ECC commissioner John Carpenter said, "but we have to be happy with the fact they're at least taking a look at the situation."
* Gene Corrigan, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will chair that Championships Committee. He also has chaired a Special Committee on Cost Reduction, and its proposed legislation on cutbacks in recruiting, coaching and scheduling has the support of ACC schools.
"We're in favor of cost reduction, definitely," said Maryland president William E. Kirwan. "It's time to take a stand on these reform issues. The overall health of intercollegiate athletics is in question, and the time to act is now."
* At today's opening business session for Division I members, legislation was approved that would require exit interviews for student-athletes, would restrict contact with recruits and would limit paid visits a member could give in a specific year. The old limit was 18 visits. Next year, schools would be limited to 15 visits.
* Dr. Raymond Downs, vice president for student affairs at Morgan State, said the Golden Bears hope to name a new football coach by the end of the month.
"We're committed to naming a new coach before the end o January," Downs said. "It's important to get this taken care of now because of the recruiting situation.
"We need a teacher, a disciplinarian and a miracle worker wh can turn our football program around.