3 Pressing Issues Take Precedence


Girls Basketball 'Q's Without A's'put Off To Worry About Game, Meetings

December 06, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

I know I promised a zesty session of "Q's without A's" on girls basketball for today, but don't get mad at me because I didn't come up with them. I've got to get a few more pressing things out of the way first.

We've got to keep our priorities in order, and we can do the girls hoops "Q's and A's" another day. Simply put, I forgot that I had to remind you about three hot items: (1) hockey, (2) state meeting on out-of-season coaching and (3) Fort Meade Coordinating Council meeting to discuss a new park.

Since you are so understanding, I'm going to give you some answers to today's big "Q's" but I still want your valuable input.

The number to call with your answers, comments or big "Q's" of your own ismy 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499.

* Are you ice hockey fans going to turn out in big numbers at 6:35 tonight at the U.S. Naval Academy's Dahlgren Hall to root the Mids' club hockey team to victory over West Chester of Pennsylvania?

Do you hockey fans know important thisgame is?

"The winner will probably go to the nationals," Navy coach Jim Barry said.

Navy goes into the game at 5-1 overall, with hopes of returning to the nationals; West Chester comes in at 7-1, hoping to unseat the Mids.

The American Collegiate Hockey National Tournament is set for Feb. 26-29 at Penn State, and Barry says the selection committee will weigh heavily the result of tonight's match-up.

"More than likely, the winner is going to go to the nationals, because we're in the same league, and it's improbable they would take twoteams from our league," said Barry, who is in his fourth season as Navy's head coach.

"We don't play West Chester again until mid-February, which is right around the time invitations to the national tournament go out. So that second game may have no bearing at all."

Navy's last game was two weeks ago, a 7-1 romp over the University of Delaware. It was the Mids' fifth consecutive victory after a 4-2 season-opening loss to the University of Maryland.

West Chester beat Maryland, 5-2, and also owns a win over Navy nemesis Rhode Island, 4-2.Navy hasn't beaten Rhode Island during Barry's tenure.

The East Club Hockey League consists of Navy, West Chester, Maryland, Lehigh and the University of Penn.

Added incentive for West Chester is the fact that the northern neighbors dropped a 5-3 decision to the Mids in the final of the Crab Pot Tournament last January. That Navy win secured the Mids a berth in last year's National Club Tournament in Tempe, Ariz.

"It would be great if we have a lot of fans there cheering for us. It really does get the adrenalin of our players going," Barry said.

By the way, are you hockey fans aware that admission is always free to Navy club hockey games at Dahlgren Hall?

* Hey, sports fans and coaches, did you guys remember very important meetings coming up this weekend and Tuesday night?

First, at 11 a.m. tomorrow is that all-important State Board of Control meeting at the Greenbelt Marriott to discuss whether or not to "interpret the bylaw (on out-of-season coaching by high school coaches) as written" will be conducted.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association claims to be getting complaints about high school coaches who run outside teams, saying those coaches are gaining unfair advantages. If thestate were to strictly interpret the rule on such as written, it would virtually eliminate high school coaches' coaching their athletes out of season.

The rule reads: "(1) MPSSAA member schools and coaches of member schools shall confine practice for all students or teamsto the seasonal limitations as defined in Regulation .03.

"(2) A coach may not coach a team representing the coach's school, beyond the sport season as defined in Regulation .03."

The MPSSAA has been interpreting the rule to allow coaches to coach out-of-season teams as long as "no more than half of the team roster may be composed of returning varsity and junior varsity players from the school team."

State officials have said complaints have been coming in that some coaches are circumventing the rules to their advantage. In other words,some coaches are using their leisure time and even giving up their summer vacations to help athletes.

So, what's wrong with that?

I'll tell you what's wrong: Such ambitious and well-meaning coaches are not falling in line with promoting mediocrity. We live in a societythat punishes success and rewards the lazy.

"Athletes don't get to be the best in the state just from the high school season," said Tom Conroy, president of the Waves AAU girls basketball program, which has produced 18 scholarship players in the last three years.

"TakeBroadneck High coach Bruce Springer: He works all year round in keeping these girls names in the minds of college coaches. He has given up his summers for the past four years to take them to tournaments andwork on their skills development.

"It's no coincidence that Anne Arundel County has won the state 4A basketball title three straight years (Broadneck twice and Old Mill last year)."

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