Springer Affair Another Sad Chapter In Aacc Drama


April 19, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

No one could ever call the Anne Arundel Community College staff one big, happy family, unless he was joking.

The Arnold junior collegehas become a bad joke. At least, it seems to be that way since 1985.

Former men's basketball coach and longtime physical education professor Bruce Springer has been right smack in the middle of much of the controversy surrounding the school.

The latest is Springer's appeal of a one-year suspension without pay on charges that he unlawfully distributed student records of two men's basketball players.

They say Bo knows baseball. Well, let me tell you that Springer knows controversy and appeals.

Back in 1985 while Anne Arundel men's basketball coach, Springer played David Chapman in a season-opening tournament in Frederick. Anne Arundel won both games but had to return thetrophies because Chapman was ineligible.

Chapman never graduated from Annapolis High School, nor did he earn a Graduate Equivalent Degree, but on the Anne Arundel roster it said that Chapman had his GED.However, when a student doesn't have a diploma, a copy of his GED must be attached to the eligibility form.

Springer never checked it out and let Chapman play. It was a procedure that a veteran coach such as Springer should have known. The Pioneers forfeited both games, and Chapman was dismissed from the team.

That incident came on the heels of the revelation that the school's football team coached by Alan Pastrana had played as a club team without academic requirements. Players and many others were led to believe it was a varsity team with academic requirements.

The 1985 football team also had a player who had no diploma nor GED. The football and basketball incidents ledto investigations and strict monitoring of student-athletes.

In asurprise move in 1987, Springer resigned after 25 years as Anne Arundel men's coach and was named head girls basketball coach at Broadneck High. After one season at the Cape St. Claire school, he was suspended for one year by the county School Board for allowing his daughterto play at Broadneck while the family lived in Queen Anne's County.

Students from outside the county must pay tuition or live with a legal guardian to attend a county public school. His daughter had not established legal residency in the Broadneck district; yet Springer, who again either failed to know an important rule or chose to ignore it, allowed her to play.

His daughter was suspended 60 days and the Bruins forfeited all games in which she appeared in the 1986-1987 season. Springer appealed all the way to the state superintendent and lost.

The suspensions stood, but Springer was back coaching at Broadneck in 1989-1990, replacing Tom Smith, who had led the team to itsfirst state championship in Springer's absence. Smith is now head women's basketball and softball coach at the community college.

Now the latest Springer appeal is just another page in a rather sad

soap opera that has been raging on the Arnold campus for at least six years, with no happy ending in sight.

Only possibly the University of Maryland at College Park has topped Anne Arundel among state schools in terms of controversy and poor image.

From the administrationto the faculty to the phys ed and athletic departments, it's constant turmoil. And believe me, each of those departments has contributed its fair share. Anne Arundel's Pioneers lead the league in back stabbing and people who can't trust each other.

You need only talk to someone who works there to hear a story.

Springer received a letterfrom the college last week telling him he had been suspended for a year without pay as a result of an internal investigation.

That investigation was ordered by Anne Arundel President Thomas E. Florestano, who became furious over student records sent anonymously to the National Junior College Athletic Association and others outside the college in December or January.

The academic transcripts of basketball players James Sharps and Butch Williams were sent outand made public without their permission, apparently because someone thought thoseplayers were ineligible. The NJCAA ruled that Sharps, who played forthe team while making up work during the school's mini-semester, wasineligible at the end of the fall semester.

Since Sharps didn't meet the minimum academic requirements in the fall semester as prescribed by the NJCAA, which does not recognize mini-semesters, he was suspended for two games during a Division II postseason tournament. He was allowed back for the championship game.

Sharps got his grades back up (to a 1.88) and above the minimum requirements (1.75 GPA required for student-athletes) during the mini-semester but should not have been playing until grades were issued in mid-January. The NJCAA considered the whole thing a misinterpretation by AACC hoop coach Mark Amatucci and a minor infraction.

Williams was never ineligible, yethis name was dragged into this mess by the person who obtained his records.

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