Probe On Transcripts At Aacc Nears End


March 08, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

By the middle of next week, the investigation into the illegal distribution of transcripts of two men's basketball players is expected tobe resolved by Anne Arundel Community College administrators.

Sources at the school say investigators have identified the individual or individuals who violated student privacy by releasing academic records without the students' permission.

Copies of those records were sent to the National Junior College Athletic Association, the media and others.

Community college president Dr. Thomas Florestano ordered school counsel Martin Snider to conduct an investigation into the matter on Feb. 15. Because such invasions of student privacy violate federal and state laws, an FBI agentwas involved in the probe.

Florestano promised to prosecute the violators to the fullest and has not backed off. Apparently the conclusion of this investigation will not be the end of the continuing battle between the school's physical education and athletic departments.

"The Board of Trustees will actively continue to study the problemof the constant struggle between the physical education department and the intercollegiate athletics," said Florestano yesterday.

"We've still got a cancer there and we want it permanently cured."

Someone obtained the academic records of Pioneer basketball players James Sharps and Butch Williams and made them public without their permission.

The individual thought both players were academically ineligible, but was wrong. Williams was cleared while Sharps was involved in a minor violation that resulted from a misinterpretation of NJCAA rules.

In order to raise his grade-point average to at least the 1.75 required by NJCAA rules, Sharps, who is a freshman, made up work during the school's winter minisemester and continued playing. Anne Arundel allows first-year students to do that following the fall semester, but NJCAA rules prohibit it.

By NJCAA rules, Sharps should have sat out the period in which he was making up work. Sharps lifted his GPA to 1.88 in the mini-semester, but played in three games for thePioneers, two of which they won.

After receiving the copy of Sharps' transcripts and conducting its investigation, the NJCAA slapped Anne Arundel with two forfeits and suspended Sharps for the first two games of last week's Region XX tournament.

Sharps returned to action Sunday in the Pioneers' 92-90 loss to top-seeded Prince George's Community College in the Region XX final at Allegany Community College in Cumberland.

Because of Anne Arundel's procedure to allow freshmen to make up work, Coach Mark Amatucci believed he was within the rules to keep Sharps playing. As it turns out, the misinterpretation cost them two games and left the school's final overall record at 26-7 rather than 28-5.

The violation had no bearing on the team's participation in postseason play, and the community college is considering an appeal.

As minor as that violation was, the violation of thestudents' privacy was major.

Since an overhaul of the athletic department three years ago following academic and athletic problems that gave the school a black eye, new athletic director Buddy Beardmore has done a remarkable job in restoring a positive image until this recent unfortunate incident.

Beardmore came in with the blessings ofFlorestano and the Board of Trustees, but not the physical educationdepartment. During the new regime, the football program that had become a joke was dropped, academics became a priority, the bull roast to benefit the athletic program was resurrected and a Pioneers Hall ofFame was started.

Of course, none of that impressed those in physed. In fact, it made them extremely jealous and envious.

Some people are doing their best to make Beardmore look bad whenever they can, and anonymous letters and phone calls have become their trademark. The gutless no-names always refer to some former coaches whose resignations, in their opinion, have ruined the program.

Nothing is further from the truth.

The fact that these no-names never write a kind word about Beardmore and Amatucci, but always praise former coaches, tells me a lot. It tells me there are a lot of jealous people over there on that Arnold campus.

As for the rash of coaching resignations during Beardmore's tenure, it is the opinion of some people in phys ed that the resignations indicate a problem with Beardmore.

No way, Jose!

The resignations have enabled the school to name bettercoaches and be rid of a lot of dead wood. Actually, those who thought the resignations would make Beardmore look bad played right into his hand by giving him opportunity to bring in better, more dedicated coaches.

Who can argue that the lacrosse program is not in good hands with Beardmore as coach, or the baseball team with Clayton Jacobson, and most of all, how about the hoop program and the student monitoring system under Amatucci?

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