Restructuring package to be considered today State schools fear new basketball rules

January 09, 1991|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Correspondent

NASHVILLE,TENN — NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The moment of truth arrives today for Towson State, Morgan State, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and other Maryland schools that play Division I basketball and want to keep it that way.

This morning, the 85th annual National Collegiate Athletic Association convention finally will tackle the substance of its so-called "restructuring" package.

Late yesterday, that process began when, in an ominous sign for the Maryland delegation, Proposal 44 passed. The rule will require schools wishing to retain Division I status to play virtually all games against Division I opponents.

Today, the delegates will resume consideration of Proposal 45, which would require Division I schools to sponsor seven men's and seven women's programs (and to count indoor and outdoor track as one, not two).

Proposal 45, if passed, would have an immediate affect on three local schools -- Coppin State, Morgan State and Maryland Eastern Shore, all of whom now count their indoor and outdoor track programs separately to meet the Division I standard.

Even more threatening for Maryland's delegation is Proposal 46, which would require schools to spend $500,000 in athletic scholarships in non-revenue sports to remain Division I.

* The bowl tinkering continued yesterday. Division I-A delegates voted to abolish the date before which bowl representatives are prohibited from contacting school officials. The rule has been roundly ignored and impossible to enforce. In the absence of NCAA rules, bowl officials have created their own contact date for 1991, Nov. 17.

* Yesterday's most stirring speech in a lost cause was delivered by Nicholas Cassisi, University of Florida's faculty representative and, coincidentally, a physician.

As delegates prepared to vote for tight restrictions on training-table cuisine, Cassisi asked them to consider the dire consequences. "We know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as told to us by our nutritionists and our mothers," the doctor said. If training tables are restricted, Cassisi predicted doom and fatty foods. Athletes' breakfasts will become "Twinkies and Coca Cola and lunch, a Big Mac and fries," he said.

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