Losing prize recruits to grades leaves Terps' Geiger in middle

April 26, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger sometimes feels like a man in the middle.

He is torn between helping Maryland's coaches and abiding by the wishes of the university. There was a case in point this spring when two prized high school basketball recruits were denied admission because their academics weren't up to snuff.

On the one hand, Geiger would have loved to have seen basketball coach Gary Williams' smile if Lawrence Moten and Donyell Marshall had been admitted. On the other hand, Geiger agrees with Maryland's policy of not welcoming athletes with weak academic credentials.

"I support the coach and the university," Geiger said. "And I'm not always comfortable with it."

As required by the NCAA, Moten and Marshall have the 2.0 grade-point average in core curriculum courses and 700 score on the SAT. However, they don't meet the Maryland standards that were upgraded after the death of Len Bias in 1986.

"We don't have specific numbers," Geiger said, referring to GPAs and SATs. "You can't have admissions procedures limited to those numbers in high school because ways to get 700 and 2.0 vary.

"For example, some tests are timed. Others are untimed. And there's a difference between a 2.0 in a vocational curriculum and a 2.0 in college prep.

"The key is that we don't admit people if they don't have a reasonable chance to graduate," said Geiger, who has said he plans to hire a recruiting coordinator to work on a full-time basis as a liason between the admissions office and coaches.

Maryland's athletic department does have what it calls 18 "individual admits" a year -- eight for football and two for basketball, with the rest distributed among the other sports. Geiger would not say whether Moten and Marshall were considered for basketball's two individual admits.

"I'm not getting into it," Geiger said. "It's unseemly. We're not going to label people."

Geiger doesn't like to hear the familiar whine of coaches about competing on an uneven playing field because they can't get academically deficient recruits who might be admitted by some opposing schools.

"Standards vary from place to place and kid to kid," Geiger said. "There's no guarantee of a level playing field.

"That's not what this is about. We identify Maryland on its own base, its own pride, its own standards and its own future."

Moten, a former star for Archbishop Carroll High in Washington and most recently of New Hampton Prep School in New Hampshire, now is expected to enroll at Syracuse. Marshall, of Reading, Pa., is bound for Connecticut.

This weekend the Terps will sign John Walsh, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward from West Islip, N.Y., The Sun reported lTC today. Walsh, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds, has a B-plus average and a 1,020 SAT score.

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