Athletic Cuts Affect Division Iii Schools

Western Maryland Must Reduce Scheduling

January 16, 1991|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,Staff writer

The cost-cutting frenzy that hit major colleges at last week's NCAA convention in Nashville, Tenn., also had an effect on smaller schools.

Division III schools such as Western Maryland College, which cannot offer athletic scholarships but can give students other types of financial aid, must cut back schedules and have tighter eligibility requirements for transfer students.

"I think you're going to see further cutbacks in the years ahead," said Rick Carpenter, WMC athletic director. "The Division III people are trying to make life for Division III student-athletes much the same as it is for non-athletes."

Carpenter said NCAA Division III delegates, who voted on legislation affecting their own schools separately from delegates representing Division I and II schools -- which do give athletic scholarships -- made an across-the-board cut of about 10 percent in the number of contests allowed in each sport.

Men's and women's basketball teams, for example, which currently are allowed up to 26 regular-season games at the Division III level, will play two less games starting with the 1992-1993 academic year. Football,currently allowed 10 games and one scrimmage, would be allowed a total of 10 games and scrimmages, beginning in 1992.

The transfer eligibility rule goes into effect in August. Previously, any athlete could transfer to a Division III school without having to sit out a season. In the future, only those athletes who still would have been eligible at their previous institution can transfer to a Division III school and play immediately. Others will have to sit out a year.

A player who would have been academically ineligible at a Division I school, for example, would have to sit out that year before playing at a Division III school under the new regulations.

The NCAA Council also agreed to study the possibility of different rules in some sports at the Division III level, Carpenter said. That proposal evolved from several planned rules changes in football and soccer that may be difficult for smaller schools to deal with philosophically and monetarily.

One is a plan to make college football goal posts narrower starting this year. Another would mandate 25-second clocks at each end of the football stadium starting in 1992. The third planned rule, which would make men's and women's soccer substitution rules more restrictive, would cut down on the number of players who could participate in a contest.

Once a player is taken out of a game, he or she couldnot re-enter until the next period. A player who comes out early in the second half, even if for a minor injury, would not be allowed to play again until any overtime period or the next game.

"That's just not what Division III soccer is all about," Carpenter said of the new rules, which will make NCAA soccer rules closer to international substitution rules.

Carpenter said modifying the school's goal posts for the coming season could be done "at a minimal cost," but he said having two 25-second clocks in Bair Stadium -- which has just one scoreboard -- could be a problem.

Other rules affecting Division III schools include:

* Elimination of NCAA Division I schools from Division III football competition. Major colleges such as Georgetown, Dayton and St. John's are Division I in all sports except football, where they compete at the less-expensive Division III level.

Carpenter said the Middle Atlantic Conference supported legislation to keepthose Division I schools out of Division III football.

* Startingin 1992, teams will not be able to start fall competition until Sept. 7. Only four WMC events took place before that date this year -- openers in field hockey, women's soccer and volleyball and the two-day men's soccer tournament.

The rule could hurt some schools in more-northern climes, who often depend on playing games early in the season before cold weather strikes.

* Western Maryland may have troublescheduling games against Division I schools such as Mount St. Mary'sof Emmitsburg, Frederick County, which now must play almost strictlyagainst other Division I teams.

The Terrors traditionally play the Mount in field hockey, men's soccer, baseball, softball, men's lacrosse and golf.

Other WMC contests last year against Division I or II teams included LaSalle, Wagner, Bloomsburg and Franklin & Marshall(all from Pennsylvania) in wrestling; Shepherd (W.Va.) in softball and men's soccer; California (Pa.) in men's soccer; Mansfield (Pa.) inwrestling; and several teams at various invitational meets in cross country and golf.

Though WMC may still play some of those schools,the meetings likely will be less frequent.

Carpenter said, though, that Western Maryland "will not have any problems getting contracts" to fill any voids left if Division I schools don't play the Terrors.

* Division III players also have more freedom to play on summer league teams, so long as those leagues are within 100 miles of the athlete's permanent residence. Carpenter said that was one of many proposals either authored by or supported by the MAC that were approved.

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