Thompson: Solution can't wait

January 16, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Georgetown coach John Thompson expressed pleasure at the way his Hoyas withstood a second-half comeback by Providence and pulled away to a 77-70 win yesterday at USAir Arena.

But Thompson was far from being in a celebratory mood.

In his post-game comments, Thompson mixed basketball terminology with the hottest topic in college sports -- a threat by members of the Black Coaches Association to boycott men's games this season.

On Friday, with the Congressional Black Caucus at its side, the BCA postponed a proposed boycott of selected games scheduled for yesterday, an action it considered to respond to a refusal last week by the NCAA Presidents Commission to increase the Division I men's basketball scholarship limit from 13 to 14.

The NCAA has agreed to address the concerns of the BCA, which deal primarily with the lack of opportunities given prospective college athletes from economically and educationally deprived backgrounds. The BCA is especially upset with proposed legislation that would increase college entrance requirements next year.

Thompson issued a stern reminder that the BCA will not wait until next year's NCAA convention for satisfactory solutions, hinting that games later this season will be disrupted if discussions with the NCAA bog down.

"The biggest thing is, it [the boycott threat] is not over. It's just delayed," Thompson said. "To some extent, they [the NCAA] may be sincere, but the system is antiquated. The system can't be bigger than the people who are in it.

"If you have a house that's on fire and you've got a fire extinguisher that doesn't work until next year's convention, you're dead. . . . We've got a problem, and let's sit down and talk about where we can make a damn change."

Thompson reiterated his claim that Gregory O'Brien, outgoing chairman of the presidents commission, promised him that the 14th scholarship would be restored -- the NCAA reduced the limit from 15 two years ago. The NCAA has denied that any promise was made.

"I wasn't the only one in the room. There was a room of six people, when the gentleman [O'Brien] said what he said to us," said Thompson, who five years ago boycotted two games in protest of a proposal that would have tightened Proposition 48 requirements. "You've got to wonder what people are saying sometimes. I don't want to get into a debate about who said what. I just want to be successful so we can provide opportunities.

"These guys we're fighting are our friends. They're not our enemies. But it's the issue that's most important. It never ceases to amaze me how, in our educational system, we want to take educational opportunities from kids.

"And they [the NCAA] don't want these kids educated on these kinds of issues. You'd think they were talking about somebody in nursery school. We're talking about college men who are discussing all kinds of issues and sometimes coming up with solutions."

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