5 Terps ineligible . . . for now

September 01, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- In what it says is a formality that shouldn't affect their status for Saturday's season opener, Maryland has declared superback Mark Mason and four other players ineligible.

The five players were involved in a summer jobs program in which players were overpaid because of a clerical error that didn't note time spent in classes.

Athletic director Andy Geiger said that any extra money the players received has been repaid. Any possible rules violation must be reported to the NCAA, and in an attempt to close the matter quickly, on Monday Maryland declared the players ineligible and asked the NCAA eligibility staff to reinstate the players.

"I'm convinced these players are innocent of any wrong-doing," said Geiger, who said the appeal could be ruled on as early as today. "All of their accounts are cleared, and we thought that was an important step to take before we took the matter to the NCAA. We wanted the NCAA to know about the process, and I'm convinced that they'll be allowed to play Saturday."

That opinion was backed by a ruling made by the NCAA yesterday involving the University of Washington, which last week received severe penalties from the Pacific 10 Conference. Two Huskies players who were overpaid $1,445 and $850, respectively, for summer employment will miss only the season opener, and another player won't miss any games after he repaid $20 in what the NCAA said were extra benefits.

Only two of the Maryland players were overpaid by as much as $200.

Besides Mason, the other players are junior superback Doug Burnett, sophomore defensive lineman Sharrod Mack, junior cornerback Gene Green and freshman wide receiver Andrew Carter. All but Burnett are projected as starters, and all have practiced the last two days in the anticipation of playing Saturday.

"I'm not worried about it," coach Mark Duffner said. "I'm counting on all of them being in uniform."

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